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Read this in one sitting because I was fascinated by the way Sterns' characters seem so real, while at the same time her setting becomes increasingly surreal as the novel progresses. It's magical realism, fabulism, and social realism rolled into one, and it can move from hilarity to heartbreak in the space of a single sentence. She has some trouble finding an ending that doesn't disappoint, but the thrill of the journey there is the good part. I highly recommend this to everyone.
I'm sad to see this book rated so poorly on Goodreads, because it's quite good. It's a little bit like if one of Calvino's Invisible Cities came to life and was populated by melancholy fabulist characters. The language is playful and the plot is meandering and dreamy--there's a kind of associative process at work in what Sterns is doing here, where metaphorical language becomes the reality of the narrative, which calls to mind Robert Coover but with a gentler spirit.
This book has a lovely writing style, sweeping from one sentence to the next in a manner that really helps believe what the characters are saying/thinking, which is a bit of a feat considering they are all people who have been in and out of the Limestone Psychiatric Hospital.
Quite possibly the best book I've ever read...hard to describe why, but the writer's style is different and the story is amazing. The main character has some sort of developmental disability and creates an amazing world of his own using people in his real life.