Title: And Then the Gray Heaven
Author: RE Katz
Genre: Literary Fiction
Number of Pages: 102
Jules’ gender-nonconforming partner B dies suddenly of a brain hemorrhage after falling off a ladder, leaving her heartbroken and angry at B’s family’s treatment of her. B was an artist and Jules ends up going on a trip with Theo (another non-binary person) to spread B’s ashes at the spots of several of their exhibits. And Then the Gray Heaven is a subtle, dreamy story that follows Jules’ feelings of disillusionment and her attempts to honor B’s life.
I enjoyed the writing but I felt a certain amount of emotional distance from the events it portrays. I never felt like I knew B or Jules that well, possibly because of the novella’s brevity. Jules was also written as having some mental health issues (feelings of disassociation and possible hallucinations?) but the reader never gets a clearer view of what illness she’s suffering from. It’s pretty much just something that’s mentioned in passing. Even though the characters felt a little bit underdeveloped I was intrigued by their idiosyncrasies and I would really like to see a companion or a sequel to this book.