Within the first 12 pages of this book, I thought to myself, "I never want this book to end." And throughout the novel I grappled with that idea--I didn't want it to end, but I knew that I would not be able to withstand the emotional power and grief that Slouka packs into every page. Experiencing the War almost in real-time, from the perspective of someone living in Eastern Europe, enthralled the historian in me and prompted me to reassess how I conceptualize that period of history, to critique the US-UK-Franco-heavy emphasis that my studies have always taken. Additionally, it details devastatingly the long-term, personal effects of that kind of trauma--both the destruction of one's country by external powers, as well as the loss of all-consuming, heart-stopping, soul-defining passion and love. The characters are complex, well-rounded to the point of tangibility and there is nothing to do but love them all.
At the end, The Visible World is one of those books that I don't know if I will ever be able or want to read again, but that I will keep on my bookshelf forever all the same.