Like The Curious Incident of the Dog
in the Night-Time — another recent book
featuring a protagonist with Asperger's syndrome — Banishing
Verona succeeds to a large extent because its socially challenged star
is so endearing. Zeke is 29, a college graduate in London who paints
houses for a living because he couldn't cope with the people aspect of
accounting, his major. He's the only child of parents who are
self-absorbed and impatient with his timidity and obtuseness.
painting a house when a pregnant young woman shows up claiming to be
the niece of the absent owners. Not good at judging the truth from
lies, Zeke lets her bed down. He finds he can talk to Verona better
than to any therapist, and on the evening of their second day, he
shares the bed with her. But when he arrives for work the next morning,
Zeke finds that Verona has disappeared as mysteriously as she arrived.
problems of her own. She's trying to track down her unscrupulous
brother because his financial shenanigans have brought her threatening
visitors. In the rest of the book Verona tries to explain and atone to
Zeke for bolting but makes matters worse as she has Zeke chasing but
missing her while she chases brother Henry across the ocean.
The plot is
a stretch — and the romance may be, too — but
Zeke's character makes Banishing
Verona a triumph. He and Verona are equally featured, with
his sections and her sections alternating, but it's Zeke who wins your
heart. The young man who supposedly lacks people skills in fact always
chooses the caring thing, whether it's doing his best for his
distressed parents or putting aside his fear of flying to answer a
summons to Boston. That he and Verona will make it long-term
is far from certain, but Zeke can be assured that his "disability" need
not keep him from love.
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