After Elias

by Boudel Tan, Eddy, 1983-

Format: Print Book 2020
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2021 Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction -- Finalist A modern queer tragedy about a pilot's last words, an interrupted celebration, and the fear of losing everything. "Utterly engrossing. Coen is a hero for our era, darkly struggling amid the aftershocks of loss, but doing so with dignity, humanity, and passion." -- Timothy Taylor, author of The Rule of Stephens When the airplane piloted by Elias Santos crashes one week before their wedding day, Coen Caraway loses the man he loves and the illusion of happiness he has worked so hard to create. The only thing Elias leaves behind is a recording of his final words, and even Coen is baffled by the cryptic message.Numb with grief, he takes refuge on the Mexican island that was meant to host their wedding. But as fragments of the past come to the surface in the aftermath of the tragedy, Coen is forced to question everything he thought he knew about Elias and their life together. Beneath his flawed memory lies the truth about Elias -- and himself.From the damp concrete of Vancouver to the spoiled shores of Mexico, After Elias weaves the past with the present to tell a story of doubt, regret, and the fear of losing everything.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Coen Caraway and Elias Santos' plans for a lavish Mexican wedding are thwarted when the plane Elias was piloting crashes into the Atlantic Ocean. Coen is already at the resort, so he turns the ceremony into a celebration of Elias's life. But Coen's grief is complicated: reports suggest that Elias may have crashed intentionally, and Coen hears Elias' voice as he navigates his new reality. When guests arrive at the resort, tensions are high, and their concern for Coen's well-being plunges him deeper into darkness. The present-day narrative is interspersed with vignettes from both men's lives, tracing their courtship in reverse chronological order and revealing the tragic events that brought the couple together, and the traumas they have faced as gay men. Debut author Tan uses Aztec mythology and folklore to capture the uncertainty of the early stages of grief. Twists abound, and secrets are slowly revealed as the flashbacks delve more deeply into Coen and Elias's lives. It's rare to find a book that works well as a deeply emotional exploration of grief and as a suspenseful thriller, but After Elias manages this feat."
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Tan's intriguing if somewhat uneven debut revolves around a mysterious plane crash. A week before his dream wedding, Coen Caraway's fiancé, Elias Santos, dies in a plane crash. Amid speculation by investigators that Elias, who was the plane's copilot, might have intentionally crashed the plane, based on a recording from the cockpit that captures him saying "pronto dios" just before impact, Coen decides to celebrate Elias's life at the Omeyocan Hotel, the same venue in Mexico--Elias's home country--where they would have gotten married. Coen rationalizes: "The hotel is booked, as is the catering, the band, the staff.... Plus, I'm already here," and he warns guests who do not believe in Elias's innocence to stay away. Celebrating Elias's life and moving on from his death involves Coen's reckoning with the past, as family members remind him of Elias's volatile, controlling behavior. Tan is at his best when he inhabits Coen's point of view--unmoored by the loss of his love and desperately seeking answers--but the narrative suffers when characters wax philosophical and making gauzy observations about life: "regret nothing," "Beauty is more beautiful when it's fleeting," and "Life is fleeting." Despite its weak spots, the novel has plenty of rewards. (Sept.)"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Gays -- Fiction.
Bereavement -- Fiction.
Regret -- Fiction.
Gay fiction.
Psychological fiction.
Publisher Toronto :2020
Language English
Description 282 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN 9781459746428
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