This book is a quick read, but pretty insufferable. Aside from being poorly written - overly descriptive, convoluted perspectives, clunky use of adjecThis book is a quick read, but pretty insufferable. Aside from being poorly written - overly descriptive, convoluted perspectives, clunky use of adjectives, etc. - the plot is uneven and uninteresting, and as many reviewers have pointed out, the secret referenced in the title is not worth waiting for. The characters are one-dimentional sketches, and many of the mini plot-twists serve no point, building up to nothing, and are quickly discarded.
Strangely, for the first couple of chapters I kept picturing the narrator, Antoine, as a woman, and I think this is due to the author's inability to get into a male mindset. It almost feels like she wrote a female character, and decided to change her at the last moment to a man. I'm not sure why she didn't make Melanie the narrator and change up the story a bit. I also found the relationship between the narrator and his sister to be kind of creepy - am I the only one?
Antoine's new girlfriend is presented as a savior - someone who swoops in and instantly makes him feel better about his emotional immaturity and his dysfunctional family. But this woman is painted as a one-dimensional, emotionally unavailable, overly-sexed, type-A, biker-chick caricature. Not sure how someone so seemingly shallow is able turn his life around so profoundly.
For most of the book, brother and sister are in this together, sleuthing and uncovering clues about their family's past- and out of nowhere Antoine decides he isn't up for sharing his newest discoveries with Melanie, then he finds out that she somehow already knows everything he knows, and THEN she tells him she doesn't want to know any more, should he find anything. So incongruous!
Having loved "Sarah's Key", I was especially disappointed in this follow-up novel. I hope this author is not a one-hit wonder. ...more
This book started out slow for me - I put it down moreAbsolutely beautiful book. Masterful writing, complex characters, perfectly painted settings...
This book started out slow for me - I put it down more than once and picked it up months later. I'm so glad I did. I found myself with tears in my eyes more than once, and I NEVER cry when I read. It has been almost a week since i finished this book and I still find myself thinking about the characters daily - missing them, wondering about them and what happened next.
Ghosh is one of the most vivid literary characters I have ever known and loved - you will wish you knew him personally. Marion is complicated, deeply flawed, and so human. Shiva, too, but as yang to Marion's yin.
An epic and transporting read, well worth the journey. ...more
I would like to give this book a higher rating, as I truly loved some of the mini-stories and characters within. That said, I had trouble with the forI would like to give this book a higher rating, as I truly loved some of the mini-stories and characters within. That said, I had trouble with the format of the book. I've always had a hard time with books of short stories, and while this book weaves characters through multiple stories, it still felt too broken up to me. I do think this book is worth reading just to get to know some of the stand out characters and little slices of broken life that are so common and yet so shocking.