Marc's Reviews > The Sentimentalists

The Sentimentalists by Johanna Skibsrud
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's review
Feb 13, 2012

really liked it
Read from February 13 to March 08, 2012

Johanna Shively Skibsrud creates a highly detailed, nostalgic world that follows the stories of a broken family. Escaping personal troubles, the main character, who remains unnamed throughout the novel, visits her father, a Vietnam veteran, in the 'twilight of his life'. The language of the novel is rich and detailed with the classic Canadian style of a melancholy spread with a sprinkling of futility. The novel is richly packed with all the sentimental symbols that accompany lost hope: a sunken house, an incomplete boat, failed poetry. This novel is wonderfully written but, oh, so familiar. With a title packed with all the ironic firepower as "The Sentimentalists", I believed that it would prove to be contentious. Where would we be if stories with the titles, "The Ladykillers" or "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius" were packed with the exasperating qualities of their namesake? Approaching a novel with the title, "The Sentimentalists", I had hoped that the novel would not be rife with . . . well, sentimentalists.

Still, being a sucker for beautiful language, I would recommend this book for its richness, character depth and the accurate portrayal of the effects of war on a family.

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