Does Not Love tells the story of spouses that continue to orbit one another, but fail to collide in passion anymore. Damaged by a painful failure to conceive, we find them each questioning whether what they have is still considered love.
Had the premise stopped there, I would’ve likely never sought the book, however, the world that the couple faces their challenges in, an alternate reality Indianapolis infused with Big Pharma conspiracy, skirts reality just enough to render the novel wholly original… and fascinating.
Personally, I had been seeking a book like this, that explores a complicated relationship without being saccharine or melodramatic. Adcox veils the story with just a touch of dreamlike madness, perfect for increasingly questioning the lucidity of its characters, and exploring their sensations of emptiness alongside them.
The dialogue is masterfully surreal and satirical. An FBI Agent in the book kept reminding me of the g-men portrayed in the cult-favorite video game: Psychonauts. “Who are you? Who do you work for? Why are you looking for the Milkman? What is the purpose of the goggles?” Such parodies don’t dilute its poignancy though, and I think many will be able to relate to the loss of excitement in a stable relationship.
272 pages, highly readable, read it in a day.
Addendum: I admittedly was drawn to the fact that this book refers to a woman with a fast heartbeat that someone calls their “hummingbird,” as I have said for years that I have a “hummingbird heart.”
I also appreciated the direct use of the term, in quotes, “brain-zap.” It’s a symptom of discontinuation syndrome from psychotropics that many psychiatrists don’t acknowledge. But colloquially, in online forums, people have dubbed the symptom “brain-zaps” and almost all users experience these teeny seizures/tics during discontinuation.