Lionel Shriver has managed to get her work classified as fiction by draping a thin plot over what really is a treatise on the shortcomings of the AmerLionel Shriver has managed to get her work classified as fiction by draping a thin plot over what really is a treatise on the shortcomings of the American health care system. Paired with this dense diatribe are deep tangents into character studies. The result is an agonizing read with a lot of words and not much action.
I fully admit that I gave up half-way through and decided to stop wasting my time of the soapbox ravings of overly verbose author. The germ of the "plot" is not a bad one and held enough potential that I wanted to give this book a shot. Unfortunately, this novel went the way of another Shriver novel, "We Need to Talk About Kevin." Interesting premise, painful execution. This author and her writing is simply not for me....more
I received a free eGalley for Kindle edition of this title and made it about 30% of the way through. And 20% of that which I finished was read simplyI received a free eGalley for Kindle edition of this title and made it about 30% of the way through. And 20% of that which I finished was read simply out of a duty to "give the book a chance" in order to write a fair review. Sadly, I just could not do it. As other reviewers have noted, the book it not well-written, which just makes me weep for the publishing industry. (This is the quality you produce currently?!)
One top of that, there is no cohesion to the plot lines. The novel begins with the murder of a top-ranking homeland security official. But then we're introduced to the protagonist and somehow the murder plot is forgotten. I actually thought that two books had been accidentally melded together because there was no connection. (perhaps the connection would have been explained later, but I couldn't bring myself to read further to find out.)
And speaking of this protagonist, there really is no character development to David Pearl. His motivations are never very clear and he seems to follow the money rather than any internal moral code. He just wasn't an interesting person and I didn't care about his company or work, which unfortunately was the point of the novel (apparently).
If the author intent was to mirror the disarray and inconsistencies of the intelligence community is his storytelling and writing, then you could say that the novel works in this regard. As a compelling piece of fiction, however, he fell woefully short. I tried...I really did try to give the book a chance, but if you don't have me after the first few chapters, it's not going to happen. ...more