Despite the bleak beginning of “Context,” when Angelica takes her two children to see their father, Gavin, in prison, the novel turns into a love story with many surprises and twists of plot. Written as a love letter to Angelica’s first love, Joe Vardas, Sienkiewicz’s narrative offers complex characters and unexpected plot twists. She has crafted a tale that maintains tension throughout, from the early scenes of high school romance and Joe’s mysterious disappearance, to revelations of dark secrets which Angie discovers as the story progresses.
The book is a page-turner, in part because of the uncertainty about Joe’s fate, but also because Angie encounters surprises which change her concept of who she is. She is a questioner, and with her, we question the significance of all that she finds; we experience what she experiences.
Another unique aspect of the book is the author’s subtle irony. Her depiction of Gavin’s dysfunctional family (“They never receive guests, and they couldn’t renovate a dog house,” Gavin tells her) is astute and detailed. The voice of the author moves from serious , intense and questioning to ironic, and she provides realistic pictures of characters which help to understand their temperaments and origins.
I strongly recommend this book as an engaging, very human story.