The Physics of Relationships

The Physics of Relationships by Chas Halpern – contemporary about loss and loneliness

The Physics of Relationships is slow pace, heartwarming contemporary about loss and loneliness, complexity of relationships but somehow there is feel of detachment and disconnect throughout the story.

The Physics of Relationships

The Physics of Relationships

The Physics of Relationships by Chas Halpern

Publication Date : November 1, 2023

Publisher : Guernica World Editions

Read Date : November 16, 2024

Genre : Contemporary Fiction

Pages : 223

Source : Many thanks to Author for e-copy.

Rating: 3 out of 5.


A highly readable, intimate story about loss, aging, female friendship, family, and renewal…told with grit and humor.

Lexi is a sixty-year-old widow whose solitary life is thrown into turmoil when a desperate young woman moves in with her, soon followed by the unexpected arrival of her best friend, who has separated from her husband of forty years.

The mix of these three very different personalities – a powerful omnivore seeking to live life to the fullest; a sweet, self-denying vegan; and Lexi, a thoughtful, still grieving widow – leads to some surprising (sometimes humorous) situations that force Lexi to re-examine her life. In the physics of relationships, Lexi observes that nature abhors a vacuum. She begins to wonder if she herself has somehow manipulated her circumstances to fill that vacuum…simply to imitate the life she had before the death of her husband. 


I started The Physics of Relationships in the beginning of the year but somehow I couldn’t continue it. Finally when I started the book again last week, I could see what made me put the book aside were the characters – Lexi, her daughter, Tasha, and Tasha’s friend, Danielle.

I enjoyed the beginning learning about Lexi’s life after her husband, Lawrence’s death her divorce with her first husband, how she formed deep relationship with Lawrence and her relationship with her children but her daughter was more discussed than her son whom we don’t know until after 60%.

It was interesting to read her somewhat philosophical monologues. It was touching to read the way she was processing loss and grief and adjusting life being alone and just when the idea of being along in house started to settle in her mind, Tasha ask Lexi to help her friend Danielle.

Danielle doesn’t have relatives, she is new to city and is struggling with her business. It was impossible for her to pay for rent. Lexi thinking it would be a temporary situation agrees to help Danielle but soon realizes this isn’t temporary. But when she gets to know Danielle, she starts to like her company and soon the loneliness she started feeling after Lawrence death disappears and even when Danielle could save and pay for stay, she refuses to accept it.

Just as things started to normalize, Amy, Lexi’s best friend nearing retirement started seeing issues with her husband, Phil, and decided to move in with Lexi. Amy is free spirit, assertive and straightforward in nature and like Tasha she also doesn’t like Danielle freeloading in Lexi’s house but she too takes liking to Danielle after some point.

Thing were pretty simple and we see three women of different nature started accommodating happily in one house filling up the emptiness in Lexi’s house, life and heart but it all has to end at some point. But Lexi’s full of insight, wisdom, and patience navigates through the new phase in life after Lawrence death pretty well.

Now the book sounds simple and cozy and I would have like it but the problem was characters’ contradictory thoughts and action. It’s clear Lexi is a pushover and she care about other’s emotions than her own and it’s not something I resonate with.

My first issue was with Tasha. It was her who brought Danielle to her mother’s house, kind of insisted Lexi to help her but when she sees Danielle is staying longer she unfriends Danielle and scold Lexi for allowing Danielle freeloading in house and letting her take advantage. Lexi fails to assert her wish or thoughts about Tasha being unfair to the whole situation.

When Amy moves in her house again she fails to voice thoughts, trying to go with flow and adjustments while thinking about everyone else’s feelings but her own. What annoyed me most is Lexi being persistent efforts to push Amy back into a troubled marriage, knowing pretty well he is asshole and at one point was using her to convince Amy to come back.

Just because he didn’t cheat doesn’t make him a good husband—he blamed his wife, disregarded her feelings, and showed no remorse. As a best friend, how could Lexi send her back to a life where she’s treated merely as a trophy.

Her one reason was Amy shouldn’t let go of 40 years of long marriage and I get it she is saying that from her current lonely experience but like she found companionship with other women Amy could find it too and there was something deeper forming between them and she discarded it for morality. Why care about morality and why compromise at age of 65 is not something I can fathom. It’s not solely a woman’s responsibility to compromise everything.

Another instance was related to her first husband, Greg, who cheated on her coming back in her life. He was nice and different from the way he was before that confused Lexi and so she aske Tasha about her opinion regarding how changed he is and her exact reply was, “mom, if you’re lonely and want to date someone, I’m pretty sure you could find someone better suited to you”.

Later when Lexi spends more time and goes out with Greg as a friend once again ask Tasha’s opinion she words are “I don’t mind you and dad patching things up. I think it’s nice and kind of sweet… As far as the two of you actually having an affair or whatever… You’re a grown woman you can do what you want”.

That’s the contradictory thing I’m talking about and that happened more than often. While Lexi’s wisdom in some areas is commendable, but I think she misses something very important here.

I also felt emotional detachment in the second half. I just didn’t care about any characters. I get it women and their relationships are complex but the complexity resented here, I don’t get it.

Overall, The Physics of Relationships is slow pace, heartwarming contemporary about loss and loneliness, complexity of relationships but somehow there is feel of detachment and disconnect throughout the story.

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The Physics of Relationships by Chas Halpern – slow pace, heartwarming contemporary about loss and loneliness, complexity of relationships #ThePhysicsofRelationship #contemporary .check out full review –> Share on X
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Hi, I'm Yesha, an Indian book blogger. Avid and eclectic reader who loves to read with a cup of tea. Not born reader but I don't think I’m going to stop reading books in this life. “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”

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