Philip Pavlović ~ For the Love of Roman
Roman is young, and his failure in finding love drives his longing to leave this world. That is, unless, he can find the girl he is convinced is also searching for him. His drastic actions in his quest for romance spiral out of control, taking him first on a nightmarish, then a mystical, train journey across Europe. Here at an enchanting railway station, Roman is the catalyst for the fusion of two dimensions. In this next dimension, we are dropped in war-torn Yugoslavia, where thousands of young men locked on a train are being sent to their deaths.
There we meet Drago, a man facing death who is so desperate to live.
What a unique story!
When I started reading this book I was immediately captured by the writing style. Pavlović has a poetic way of expressing himself and his choice of words, combined with the short chapters make this book very readable.
It is depressing as Roman struggles with suicidal thoughts for reasons to which we are never privy. His attitude towards the cats is heartwarming but also tragic when be considers taking one with him.
I did wonder at first if Roman was an incel, but gradually came to the conclusion that he was a naive idealist, who genuinely believed that the right woman would make him happy.
The second half of the book is a little confusing, as if there are two stories stuck together. Both parts are well-written but feel a little disjointed.
The description of war-torn Yugoslavia is stark, the characters’ story deserving of its own book. As we learn more about Drago and his family we start to adjust our own priorities and hope that Roman does the same.
The book’s ending provides us with hope, but feels a little contrived. It’s a positive outcome, but leaves us with many unanswered questions.
Overall, For the Love of Roman is a strong, imaginative debut that asks us to consider what truly matters while we live, but also what happens after we die.
I received a copy of the book from The Book Network. Opinions my own.