Lovers and Other Strangers is a re-issue of a previously published novella. Written in the close third-person viewpoint of Finn, a young painter from a family of famous artists and art critics, it centers on the popular theme of second chances. To get there, it explores the always-compelling coming-of-age question of how a hero can find his own self-worth, separate from the accomplishments of his family. The novella is flawlessly written and enjoyably intricate, filled with plot twists and vivid characters, especially Finn’s flamboyantly gay friend Paul.
The story begins after Finn suffers a terrible car crash and retreats to his childhood home on an island off the coast of Maine. However, the setting holds bitter memories. Three years ago, Finn caught his twin brother Fitch seducing his lover Con Carlyle, an older debonair writer. Finn reacted by escaping to New York City where he had the car accident. Since he didn’t stay in communication with anybody, he is shocked to find out at the book’s beginning that Fitch has disappeared.
Now Finn realizes that no one on the island can, or will, tell him what happened to Fitch – not even Con, who begs for forgiveness and a second chance. Finn becomes convinced that Fitch was murdered, and he has no lack of suspects. His twin had a cruel streak that led him to antagonize friends and family. Finn is most troubled by his suspicions that Con may be the prime suspect – especially since he still harbors intense feelings towards the elegant and complex older man.