Sharp and propulsive, The Damages is an engrossing novel set in motion by the disappearance of a student during an ice storm, and explores themes of memory, trauma, friendship, and identity.
What I remember best about that week in January is trying to keep track of all the lies I told.
1997: For Ros, starting university at Regis is an opportunity for reinvention—a chance to be seen as interesting, to be accepted by the in-crowd, and maybe even get a boyfriend. But when she meets her roommate, Megan, with her pleated jeans and horse-print bedding, she sees her as a social liability. Outside of their dorm room, Ros distances herself from Megan and quickly befriends the cool kids, seeking status at all costs. Just after winter break, an intense ice storm hits campus, triggering a reckless, days-long dorm party, during which Megan goes missing. Ros is blamed for the incident and abruptly dropped by her social circle, casting a shadow over the next two decades of her life.
2020: Ros’s former partner, Lukas, the father of her eleven-year-old son, is accused of a sexual assault. The accusation brings new details of an old story to light, forcing Ros to revisit a dark moment from her past. Ros must take a hard look not only at the father of her child, but also at her own mistakes, her own trauma, and at the supposed liberal period she grew up in.
The Damages is a page-turning, thought-provoking novel about the lies we tell other people and the lies we tell ourselves.