Okay it’s cheesy but it’s true: where Vincent Zandri is concerned, for me it’s definitely “Love At First Sight”. I have a confession. Short of grade school book reports, college term papers and those Goodreads posts where you rate every book you’ve ever read (and if you’re reading this and you’re on Goodreads and we’re not friends, please send me an invitation – I love to connect with fellow word aficionados) I’ve never written a review. But what a way to start, with Vincent Zandri’s latest offering, a short story about true love that is just right for Valentine’s Day.
“Love At First Sight” is the story of an arresting Afghan vet named Nick who is going in and out of blindness. The story is set in Venice, which is the first clue that the reader in the hands of a subtly seductive master. Mr. Zandri’s excellent attention to detail will leave the reader feeling like he or she is sitting in the third seat at the cafe table where the story takes place, and is so accurate I found myself hungering for a plate of linguine with clam sauce as I read. Venice is of course one of the most visually appealing cities in the world, and like Nick’s world is also slipping from view, thanks to its rising waters. It’s an apt metaphor for Nick’s relationship with his fiance Margo, who is meeting him for a bit of R & R after a horrific incident that happened while Nick was in charge in Afghanistan. The isolated city of canals is also a poignant symbol of the fragility of life.
I do not want to give away too much of the story, but I will say that Mr. Zandri’s sensory details, and his portrayal of the incremental losses that accompany blindness, are so acute that I found myself wondering if he had suffered some visual impairment. Not knowing anyone who has served in the military I am not familiar with the realities of war. This is a topic that can so easily be either overwhelming or overdone. Mr. Zandri manages to convey the horrors of war on a human scale not easily forgotten.
The reader feels as though Nick is whispering confessions in the wind. If you are, like me, a fan of first-person storytelling, you will shiver as you realize you are inside Nick’s very core. I highly recommend “Love At First Sight” – the perfect Valentine for anyone who loves to read.