I enjoy Dev Bentham's previous stories that I ended up buying this one without even looking at the blurb. Only looking at the title Whistle Blower I thought it would be something very suspenseful, about a corporate spy and such. Well, turned out that the story instead offered a lovely relationship that built between a 36-year-old corporate lawyer/partner Jacob Nussbaum and a 50-year-old Ben Anderson whom Jacob met when he traveled to a small fishing island
There was a quite strong feel of loneliness from both men. Jacob spent all of his time working, he didn't really have friends much less boyfriend (his latest left him because he was too much into his work). Jacob's best friend was his office secretary. Meanwhile Ben lost his own partner to cancer two years previous. Ben still kept his partner's clothes and hadn't really ready to fully move on.
Those feeling didn't drag the story down though, at least for me. I thought it made the story rather quiet and contemplative, especially when Jacob and Ben were spending time just the two of them at the island, either Ben teaching Jacob to row, or when they were hiking together.
And while together they were opening up about themselves and grew closer. Jacob told Ben about why he visited the island -- Jacob had a moment of epiphany, questioning about his own soul while doing his job, and he went there to talk to a witness -- and about his lonely life while in New York City. While Ben told Jacob about Manny, his partner, whom he had been together for 25 years.
The obstacle of their relationship came from the fact that they lived apart and the age-gap between them. Ben thought that Jacob was too young for him, he didn't want Jacob to have to feel what he felt right now, being left alone because the possibility of Ben died first (Ben's deceased partner was 17 years older than Ben).
I loved the story very much!! I loved the progress of the two men into the relationship. Maybe because of their age, it also felt mature. I loved the different feel between the small fishing island where Ben lived, and the city where Ben came to visit Jacob.
There was one conversation that just struck me to the very core, I had to highlight it.
Jacob grunted. “I’ve thought that about myself. It’s funny to think of New York as a solitary place, but even though there are people everywhere, and it’s never silent, it’s easy to be alone. I go to work, stay late, and come home to sleep. That’s about it.”
Ben nodded. “It’s the same everywhere, isn’t it? You’ve got all those cultural events—some of the world’s finest museums, theater, music—and you probably don’t ever go unless you’re entertaining someone from out of town, just like I don’t fish or hike or paddle a kayak on my own.”
This is probably my most favorite read from Dev Bentham to date. Sometimes not reading the blurb at all pays off well :)