In this moving paean to storytelling, an old man regales his nursing assistant with tales that blur fact and fantasy.
Good to know
Eugene “Geno” Miles is living out his final days in a nursing home, bored, curmudgeonly, and struggling to connect with his new nursing assistant, Angel, who is understandably skeptical of Geno’s insistence on having lived not just one life but many—all the way back to medieval Spain, where, as a petty thief, he first lucked upon true love only to lose it, and spend the next thousand years trying to recapture it.
Who is Geno? A lonely old man clinging to his delusions and rehearsing his fantasies, or a legitimate anomaly, a thousand-year-old man who continues to search for the love he lost so long ago?
As Angel comes to learn the truth about Geno, so, too, does the reader, and as his miraculous story comes to a head, so does the biggest truth of that love—timeless, often elusive—is sometimes right in front of us.
Again and Again
The Most Beautiful of All Possible Worlds
Don’t tell me life is short. With the benefit of my considerable experience, or should I say in spite of it, I’m still willing to buy that life is beautiful if you dress it up right, that people are basically good, or that love can save you. I still want to believe. Tell me that life is meaningful, and you’ve got my ear. Tell me that life is a journey, and I’ll nod in agreement. But try convincing me that said journey is short, and you’ve lost me; that’s one cliché I can’t abide. If you think life is short, just wait. One of these days it might not end for you; it’ll just keep going and going and you’ll see that life is not a breathless sprint to the grave, gone in a heartbeat, but an odyssey that stretches on and on into eternity. Once it starts, it never ends, not even if you want it to. I should know.
I have gone by other names: Euric, Pietro, Kiri, Amura, York, and Whiskers. Currently I answer to the name of Eugene, though the attendants here at Desert Greens call me Mr. Miles. In August, I turn 106 years old. Wow, you’ll say, what a full life! Impressive! What’s your secret? But the fact is, I’m ready to die. There is nothing holding me here. I only hope that I am not born again, for I don’t think I could endure another loveless existence.
As far as I know, I first came to live on the Iberian Peninsula in the town of Seville, or Ishbiliyah as it was then known, during the golden age of Abd al-Rahman III in al-Andalus. If you’ve read your history, you probably know something about Spain under the Moors: how it was a global seat of wisdom, a paradise for scholars and poets and artists, philosophers, historians, and musicians, how Arabic was the language of science—mathematics, astronomy, and medicine. You’ve likely heard about the wondrous architecture of the mosques with their flowing arabesques and honeycombed vaults, their domed tops echoing the hypnotic suras of the Quran. You’ve probably heard about the great walled alcazabas, and the splendor of the riads and gardens. That is where the story of Euric and Gaya begins.
Why I love it
Shelby Van Pelt
Author, Remarkably Bright Creatures
When a book keeps me turning pages long after bedtime, I often ask myself why. Is there a delicious mystery demanding to be solved? A heart-pounding stretch of action and tension? Or is it simply a superbly told story granting me temporary residence in a world I don’t want to leave?
In the case of Jonathan Evison’s Again and Again: All of the above.
We don’t know who Geno Miles is. Geno Miles is a present-day centenarian who keeps his nursing-home staff on their toes with his curmudgeonly quirks while carrying deep wounds in his soul. Geno Miles is a street urchin who runs afoul of the powerful in medieval Spain, growing into his own bravery and risking everything for his one true love. Geno Miles is—and, honestly, this one is my favorite—Oscar Wilde’s cat, selectively spoiled in an apartment in Chelsea, believing his owner might be a reincarnated version of that one true love.
Centuries separate Geno from his love, but he still believes. It’s a fantastic story. Compelling enough to draw in Angel, a young man who works at the nursing home and forges an unlikely friendship with Geno. Compelling enough to keep me, as a reader, up until dawn, unable to put the book down.
Hope. That’s it, I think. We’ve got mystery and action and unforgettable characters but there is also an unbreakable thread of hope running through Again and Again. I can’t think of anything our world needs more right now.
Member ratings (1,863)
No matter the past lives for Eugene/Euric, it’s the readers choice how you see it. The most meaningful part of this book was the friendship between he and “Angel” his room cleaning, caregiver friend.
Eugene is lonely, and Angel is looking for something missing from his life. Angel takes the time to humor an old man, and in that connection, there is care that serves them both. A poignant story - ❤️
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Eugene was such a fascinating character, and the relationship between him and Angel was so heartwarming. Loved how his present was interwoven with tales of his past lives
I am OBSESSED! I was hooked immediately. Took an unexpected turn and I wouldn't have it any other way. Geno and Angel are the duo I never knew I needed. I want more of this book. 100000/10 recommend
In my top three of the year so far! By turns heartwarming, humorous, and heartbreaking, it is a beautiful meditation on love, forgiveness and life lessons. Make sure you have tissues for the ending!