Slovakian Ondro is on his way back to the home he left several years ago to escape bad memories and homophobia. There's just one hitch in his plan: a delayed flight means he missed his connection in Basel, and has to stay the night. It may not be a total loss, though, since another passenger in the same predicament, Jamie, catches Ondro's eye.
“The Layover” puts a refreshing spin on what could be a rather clich&eqcute; story of two ships that pass in the night. The story unfolds in such a way that the seemingly unlikely series of events that brings Ondro and Jamie together seem quite believable. That's due in part to the strong character development and a plot that carefully keeps away from over-the-top reactions.
The story is told in the first person by Ondro, so we get to know him quite well, and learn about Jamie through him. Ondro is a complex person, and it takes a while; most of the story in fact, for us to begin to understand why he is returning to his home country.
Jamie is a bit younger, and at least to Ondro, a little innocent. He is, however, extremely smart and probably not as inexperienced as Ondro thinks. Jamie is an interesting character. In a way, he is the one who controls much of what happens in the book.
This is quite a short novelette, at around 100 pages in print, which makes it all the more masterful of an achievement. The writing is tight yet leaves nothing out. We get more than enough to get to know the characters and their world, without any unnecessary or extraneous information.
“The Layover” is available from Amazon.