This review is just incredible. It’s for a book that I thought might be my first Kindle read, but after this enthusiastic review, I’m not so sure:
The reader clings to the tensile wire of a mortal coil that underscores this hefty opus. Ora is beseeching the universe to keep Ofer alive while simultaneously striving to rescue Avram’s spirit. The secrets and treacheries they share and their separate and private agonies are knotted together, and the frayed but enduring fibers unwind and snap through the story.
Grossman is an eloquent and assiduous writer of internal struggle and emotional combat. He leaves no stone unturned, and the reader is saturated with Ora’s psyche on every page. I was sometimes exhausted with the relentless, strenuous tone of his narrative. The surplus verbiage and chronic turmoil drowned his beautiful nuances and periodically made reading a chore. Ora’s self-indulgence struck me as pretext for the author’s prolixity.
However, there is abundant beauty and unbreakable heart to this story, which, while swollen at times, is never pompous. It is visceral and sometimes surreal, but much less stream-of-consciousness and magical realism than some of his previous novels purport to be. And, from Avram, there was often relief from Ora’s tautology. The sections on him were full of delightful, clever word-play and ribald wit.
Aesthetically, the final, transcendent scene was painterly, exquisite, and delicate, recalling, for me, (in spirit, not in actual event) the elegance in the final scene of Kate Grenville’s story of war, The Lieutenant. Grossman shakes the reader with the toll of war and the trials of raising a family. The burdens of choice, ambivalence, and fate linger on from one generation to the next.
Painterly? A loose, allegorical significance? Love it. Save the internets, kids; tip your bartender.