What I read: Alone With You in the Ether – Olivie Blake

Alone with you in the Ether – Olivie BlakeAbout the book

(blurb from Pan MacMillan SA)

Chicago, sometime. Two people meet in the armory of the Art Institute by chance. Prior to their encounter, he is a doctoral student who manages his destructive thoughts with compulsive calculations about time travel; she is a bipolar counterfeit artist undergoing court-ordered psychotherapy. After their meeting, those things do not change.

Everything else, however, is slightly different.

Both obsessive, eccentric personalities, Aldo Damiani and Charlotte Regan struggle to be without each other from the moment they meet. The truth – that he is a clinically depressed, anti-social theoretician and she is a manipulative liar with a history of self-sabotage – means the deeper they fall in love, the more troubling their reliance on each other becomes.

Alone With You in the Ether by Olivie Blake is a glimpse into the nature of love, what it means to be unwell, and how to face the fractures of yourself and still love as if you’re not broken.

My Thoughts

Although I haven’t (yet) read “The Atlas Six” (shock, horror!), don’t think that this is remotely the same, as it isn’t.

I do prefer to go into books “blind”, so I did have the preconceived idea of this book being fantasy fiction. The intro, as well as the fact that Aldo, a scientist fixated on time travel, led me down that road a bit longer that I’d like to admit! About halfway through, I got serious “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” ideas.

BUT, I was surprised and thrilled to find that what unfolds on the pages of “Alone With You In The Ether” is an engrossing and emotional love story that blew my mind.

It is beautifully written, intricate, and emotional. It tells the story of two people with complex personalities, dealing with mental health issues. Because of the tendency to self-destruct, this story is also filled with dark tension. Their connection is on such a deep and complex level, it left me breathless. Think that I am exaggerating? Here are a few of my favourite heart-wrenching quotes:

“Can you love my brain even when it is small? When it is malevolent? When it is violent? Can you love it even when it does not love me?”

“If this is what it is to burn, he thought, then I will be worth more as scattered ash than any of my unscathed pieces.”

“She is in all of his spaces and all of his thoughts. He contemplates formulas and degrees of rationality and they all turn into her. He thinks about time, which has only recently begun, or at least now feels different. He thinks: the Babylonians were wrong; time is made of her.”

“I could study you for a lifetime, carrying all your peculiarities and discretions in the webs of my spidery palms, and still feel empty-handed”

“I want you to say everything, anything. I want to have your thoughts, I want to bottle them, I want to put them in my drawer for safekeeping.”

“She’d given him arrows and he’d shot, and now parts of her were gaping holes, flayed and filleted and left behind as open wounds.”

Alone with you in the Ether – Olivie BlakeAnd I can keep quoting!

It is a slow-paced read, deliberate and intense, mostly driven by Regan and Aldo’s internal conflict and communication. It is very much character driven.  Is this a “healthy” relationship?  That will be a great discussion point!

Much respect for the author for her raw honesty and vulnerability as she shares in the “Acknowledgement” section. I would highly recommend that you read this as part of the book, as it serves as that special lightbulb moment.

RRR (Roelia Reads Rating): 9/10

With thanks to Pan MacMillan SA for the opportunity to read this book.

The Details:


Publication Date:  29 November 2022
ISBN:  9781035012916
Pages:  288 pages

About the Author:


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