Let's talk about sex. "The Year I Slept" is overflowing with sexuality and eroticism. For some people, this is not gonna work. But I stand by my decision to include it. I just felt when I was writing it I had to contrast all the death and despair and sorrow with happy, loving sex, to kind of keep things balanced. Honestly, I can't imagine the novel without this eroticism. It just wouldn't make sense to me at this point.
In comparison to a book like "50 Shades of Gray," the difference is obvious - the sex between Rowan and Emerson has a foundation of love, where "50 Shades" is not. The characters in "50 Shades" only care about what the other can give them, whether it's expensive gifts, or sexual domination. That Lin's relationship with Tim is kind of like "50 Shades" is no accident. And while I believe BDSM can be great between loving partners, it can also be horrendous for partners who don't love each other.
Tim abuses Lin. Period. She might like it sometimes, but overall she is just so submissive and weak-willed that she lets Tim do whatever he wants with her, just so she can get out of her own head for a while. And while Tim never truly conquers Lin, he does leave her in a terrible state when they are done, and she is practically ruined.
True love exists. This is the point of the novel. I'm reminded of a line from Bulgakov's masterpiece, "The Master and Margarita,":
"Whoever told you true, everlasting love does not exist! May the despicable liar have his tongue cut out! Come with me dear reader, and only me, and I will show you that kind of love!"
Secondly, there is another quote, from Philip Glass's "Einstein on the Beach,":
"Everything must have an ending except for my love for you."
These quotes explain "The Year I Slept" in a way nothing else can. They are it's inspiration, its foundation, and its truth.