My rating: 4 of 5 stars
What a fascinating novel … two unsolved crimes – one from today and one from the past – converge in unusual and interesting ways. First, Dan Chaon is such an interesting writer. His skills are amazing! This book is so much more than it appears to be at first glance. The choices that Chaon makes during the writing of the novel – rambling passages, paragraphs/chapters ending abruptly in the middle, transitions between time that don’t flow well, etc. – are interesting and make the reading experience all the more unsettling. And I think that’s one of the things I ultimately appreciated most about this one. It was a bit discombobulating but it also infused the novel with darkness and an atmosphere of haze … which was ultimately perfection given the themes and the story. The interplay of time and space, the exploration of memory and rootedness. It’s all so fantastically done in this novel. The story is told from multiple perspectives which I also think added to the overall feeling of fogginess that embeds the prose. I’m not always a fan of writing that plays with structure but I think this was done so effectively that I can’t find anything negative to say about that aspect of the novel. I don’t think the structure is for everyone – you may not appreciate this one if you don’t like books that play with structure but if you go with this one, I think it’s worth the read. The sense of chaos that takes such a central role in the prose makes the reading experience pretty frustrating and ultimately rewarding (for me). I loved what this piece of fiction said about memory and how to be sure that what we ‘know’ is in fact real and factual. I definitely think this is worth the read and hope that you will take the time to give it a shot!
NOTE: Thank you to the publisher for proving me with an Advanced Reader Copy for an honest review.