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Really more of a 2.5, but I tend to round up, so three stars it is.
***I wouldn't classify this as a spoiler, but if you're extra protective, don't reaReally more of a 2.5, but I tend to round up, so three stars it is.
***I wouldn't classify this as a spoiler, but if you're extra protective, don't read this paragraph.***
I would summarize this as the story of how a veteran police detective and his police force repeatedly jump to conclusions about the identity of a possible serial killer, all with the goal of manufacturing plot twists when it turns out that, actually, the person who you have no real reason to think is the killer is, in fact, not the killer. I don't think this is a spoiler--it's obvious every time what's going to happen. Maybe it's not supposed to be? I don't know for sure, which I think is a comment on the writing.
***OK, not-really-a-spoiler is over.***
This book somehow manages to be too long while not giving you the details of the story that you want to have, so that key scenes are hard to envision, and emotional moments are lost. It had enough to get me through the 515 pages of my copy, but not enough to make me suggest that anyone else read it. I had heard a lot of recommendations on this, and I think they've recently made it into a movie, so I had hoped for better. Maybe something got lost in translation? In any event, a mediocre experience for me. ...more
This is a lovely book. The story is told by Isidore, the youngest of a peculiar family rife with geniuses. Dory, as he is often called (much to his chThis is a lovely book. The story is told by Isidore, the youngest of a peculiar family rife with geniuses. Dory, as he is often called (much to his chagrin) has an older sister who is finishing high school at 13. And three older siblings all working on Ph.D.'s, while another sibling is a brilliant musician. Dory is something of an outsider in the family, since he is in an age-appropriate grade and hasn't particularly distinguished himself in any area.
But the story is primarily a loving account of Dory's observations of the world around him. It is filled with keen observations of human behavior, often as Dory innocently asks for explanations of how things work in the world around him. Those observations often remind the reader that even (and perhaps especially) Dory's genius siblings still lack direction and have their foibles. Because they are human adults, and we all have our stuff.
The book deals especially well with the issue of grief, especially the grief we experience as children. I don't want to go on about that, lest I spoil parts of the story. But as with the rest of the book, the narrative around this point is observant and deftly delivered.
Again, the best word I have to describe this book is "lovely." It is touching and insightful and sad and funny and all of the things that a good novel should be. Go read it for yourself.
(I was very lucky to have received a copy of this book through Goodreads First Reads. Thanks, Goodreads!)...more
I was disappointed by this. It got good ratings on Goodreads, and sounded like a historical crime thriller that would be up my alley. But I finished aI was disappointed by this. It got good ratings on Goodreads, and sounded like a historical crime thriller that would be up my alley. But I finished and was left with one thought: what was the point of that? The setting was interesting: I've never read anything set amongst 1800's Scottish tenant farmers. But that's about where the interest runs out. The actual story is straightforward. There's no real thrill. No surprises. (I think something that came up in the trial was perhaps meant as a surprise, but it's obvious long before it's revealed.) There were also some missed opportunities, I thought. All in all, it's a pretty straightforward plot for an uneventful courtroom drama in a novel setting. ...more