I enjoyed this book, but it was a very gentle read. Not that there's anything wrong with that - there just weren't a lot of peaks and troughs, with th...moreI enjoyed this book, but it was a very gentle read. Not that there's anything wrong with that - there just weren't a lot of peaks and troughs, with the tone being somewhat lighter than it could have been, given the subject matter. It's quite difficult to review a book that is more-or-less all about atmosphere.
It actually reminded me quite a lot of another book I read recently, Ghost Tide, which was rather unfortunate timing on my part. The other book similarly focussed on the life of a Chinese boy who grew up knowing that he was in the wrong body for his true gender, and it had a similarly dreamy quality about it. While Ghost Tide was set in a Chinese village, and this book is set in a Canadian small town, there aren't that many major differences to set the two books apart in my mind. What this book lacks in the spiritual allegory of the other, it makes up for in other ways, mainly the portrayal of family relationships.
The main character in this book, Peter, has oddly distant yet worshipful relationships with his three sisters, which I found both quirky and compelling. Peter's hero-worship of his older, cosmopolitan sister - the two of them on different continents, exchanging wordless post-packs of random photographs and artefacts - was quite poignant. Likewise, the ending was quite beautiful and unexpected.
This is a solid novel about family relationships and identity, just not a particular stand-out for me.
Just finished re-reading... [new review to follow]
First Read (2003): ★★★★★ This was the first Iain M Banks book I read many years ago now, and I fell...moreJust finished re-reading... [new review to follow]
First Read (2003): ★★★★★ This was the first Iain M Banks book I read many years ago now, and I fell in love with it. I loved the personal symbology that the boy developed and practiced - that's mostly what sticks in my mind years later. I read The Crow Road straight afterwards and kept waiting for something interesting to happen, but it just didn't. I was sorely disappointed.(less)