The summary of this novel made me immensely interested and I looked very much forward to read it. It took me a while to find time but I am glad to hav...moreThe summary of this novel made me immensely interested and I looked very much forward to read it. It took me a while to find time but I am glad to have now finally read it.
I've seen a lot of negative criticism, particularly regarding the characters but I would actually like to give praise to Kim Edwards for creating such complex characters. The novel has a very complicated plot and with even more difficult characters. Because of this, I can imagine that for many it would be hard to empathize and sympathize all of their actions and feelings. For example, how easy is it exactly to empathize Dr Henry's life-changing decision of giving his sick daughter away in the beginning? Truth to be told, I was myself shocked at how someone, particularly such a loving doctor, could do so but as the story continued, we got a deeper insight into Dr Henry's personality and more importantly, his past.
All the other characters were somehow the same yet different - they had their huge flaws and strengths, their emotions and thoughts and they were after all humans who had to undergo certain trauma of loss and neglect. One character that particularly touched me was Dr Henry's son, Paul, and the conflict he had with his father. Although I could not empathize, I could indeed sympathize and I think that this could be common for many of the readers to one or more characters.
Other than the characters, I also really enjoyed Edwards' style. It wasn't the most exquisite and creative form that I had encountered but it was simple, easy to follow and nice. Sometimes it was confusing to keep track of the ages of the characters, despite the year given.
However, one of the reasons why I gave this a four star and not five was because of the angst and dark mood of this novel. Indeed, there were light scenes. The love scenes were beautiful and the imagery was although not incredible descriptive, it was still good. However, there was always a brooding and sad tone. Sometimes it was not even sad but blank and neutral in a negative sense. I also wasn't too fond of the ending but that's because I like to leave a book, happy and satisfied. The ending was well but very bitter-sweet and I wish that one of the things that happened in the end did not happen. I'm not going to be explicit though because I don't want this review to contain spoilers.
So overall, I enjoyed this book a great deal. I wouldn't recommend it for everyone as it is a rather dark and complex but if you like complicated characters with a controversial plot, then sure, why not. Give it a go.
Good quotes "You missed a lot of heartache, sure. But David, you missed a lot of joy."(less)
It was the cover that made me pick up this book. I was strolling around in the library, trying to find a new book to read during summer when I saw the...moreIt was the cover that made me pick up this book. I was strolling around in the library, trying to find a new book to read during summer when I saw the beautiful cover and couldn't help but borrow it and then later, I realized that I had heard a great deal of good about this novel.
Now the beginning was a bit slow for me. The first two pages were interesting but then it got simply dull and I was wondering where on earth this book was heading. Once Vida Winter started her story however, I got interested. This continued - from time to time, the novel would get dull, and sometimes it would be fantastic. Sometimes there would be a brooding and daunting sense and it would make me a bit scared.
However, what captured my interest the most was the fantastic and vivid imagery and scenery that the author described, for example the nature and the buildings. It was absolutely amazing and so well written that I could picture it all in front of me. I also liked the plot twist - it was unexpected, thrilling and very effective but that was all and when I was finished, I still had some unanswered questions.
Memorable quotes that I like "All morning I struggled with the sensation of stray wisps of one world seeping through the cracks of another. Do you know the feeling when you start reading a new book before the membrane of the last one has had time to close behind you? You leave the previous book with ideas and themes -- characters even -- caught in the fibers of your clothes, and when you open the new book, they are still with you."
"Our lives are so important to us that we tend to think the story of them begins with our birth. First there was nothing, then I was born...Yet that is not so. Human lives are not pieces of string that can be separated out from a knot of others and laid out straight. Families are webs. Impossible to touch one part of it without setting the rest vibrating. Impossible to understand one part without having a sense of the whole."
"Politeness. Now there's a poor man's virtue if ever there was one. What's so admirable about inoffensiveness, I should like to know. After all, it's easily achieved. One needs no particular talent to be polite. On the contrary, being nice is what's left when you've failed at everything else. People with ambition don't give a damn what other people think about them."(less)