Apart from that, this is a strange, surreal story that kind of reads like an adult fairytale. The heroine (who I don't think has a name) believes she has the ability to speak wishes and make them truths because when she told her mother she didn't want her to come back, her mother died. And when she said she wanted to be struck by lightning, she got struck by lightening. After those two very traumatic events, she mostly stopped talking much, but the effects of the lightening live on her blood, turning her cold, taking away her ability to see red, and leaving her with strange sensations in her head and heart.
When she ends up in a lightening strike victim study, she hears about this dude who became a total hermit after the lightning strike. This is Mr. Fire Cock, as I like to call him. He and the heroine have instant lust, although because this is ~literary fiction~ and not romance, they wait until the second meeting before having wild and screwy elemental sex, the likes of which causes water in the bathtub to literally boil and requires sticking your hands in the freezer before foreplay. Honestly, if the book was mostly about this, I would have enjoyed it SO much more. But there's a reason that this is a love story and a romance, although when people say it's unhappy, it's probably not for the reasons you think.
The last act kind of goes off the rails. This went from being a poignant, morbidly dreamy book to a depressing mess. Someone (not the love interest) dies. We learn about someone's incredibly traumatic (physical trauma from an accident, not abusive) backstory. and someone chops off their hands with a hatchet(!!!!!). Also, there's several animal deaths, small animals killed by a cat (although one of them could have been saved but the heroine didn't know that and also DO WE REALLY NEED so many gratuitous descriptions of withered animal corpses, she asked). I think I would have liked this more as a teenager when I was all about that edgy depressed emo kid life. In fact, this even came out when that subculture was nearing its peak in 2005, so maybe the author was living her edgy, depressed emo kid life, too. That said, I still actually enjoyed this book more than I did PRACTICAL MAGIC.
3.5 out of 5 stars