Alex always thought love was enough to keep him and Gio together. Why did they need wedding rings or legal certificates? But now, with Gio lost in a coma after a fire has destroyed their home, his partner’s mother banishes Alex from his side.
Locked in a gray limbo inside his head, memories are all Gio has left, and the urge to let go is getting stronger.
Nothing can keep Alex from Gio's side, even if he has to break the rules. In their stolen moments alone together, Alex fights to reach Gio, one memory at a time.
What if Alex’s voice is the only thing that can bring Gio back?
"Gio awakens in an empty white room, empty of self. But he returns, a piece at a time, to himself through emotional memories—feelings—derived from his loving relationship with Alex. Coatsworth has paid homage to Descartes in saying to the reader that, “The essence of the soul is a thing that feels.”
This is a brilliant device, elevating what would have otherwise been a too-straightforward, simple story. The motif, of reconstructed self, is emphasized at key points in the story, such as when Alex at first cannot make a list of the possessions that he and Gio lost. As the story progresses and Gio’s sense of self begins to return, Alex is able to populate that list...
...the ideas employed in Flames, and the clever use of metaphor, make this an excellent novella."