Victoria N. Alexander's first novel, Smoking Hopes, was published in 1996. Though it has been seven years, Naked Singularity is well worth the wait. Told in events current and taking place in flashbacks, Alexander takes the reader down an intriguing road loaded with questions and choices, none of them easy.
Hali is the youngest child of divorced parents; she has two sisters, and their past is dark and haunted. Growing up, her father was an abusive alcoholic and her mother was something of a loser; the girls were left to fend for themselves. But now, she, along with the rest of the family, is struggling with her father's cancer. What the rest of the family does not know is that her father has asked her to help him commit suicide.
Of course it is not an easy decision to make. She hates driving him back and forth to the hospital for painful treatments, engaging in discussions about Shakespeare and beliefs. She cannot see why, if he is bound to die, that he should be forced live the rest of his days suffering. But when she learns that her father is afraid of dying, everything becomes that much more complicated. Unable to do it on her own, Hali looks to a nurse for help. And they soon learn that a mercy killing is not as easy as it sounds, and life spins out of control.
Alexander's writing is poetic as she allows the reader to feel without telling them what it is they are supposed to be feeling. Naked Singularity is sad, touching and heartfel, a taut story about love and living, hate and dying. I only hope fans of Victoria N. Alexander's writing do not have to wait nearly another decade for more of her wonderful storytelling.