I’m not going to compare this book to other novels. I’m not going to talk about books where the prose sings, where the characters make you ache with familiarity and fear, where death lurks in every corner and fate–or is it something else–hangs over every head. Temporal mix-up narratives, children’s viewpoints, forbidden love–all of these things are in other novels.
But none of those novels are like this one. Not one.
This novel is both complicated and simple. It is a sinuous and confusing read, the events playing out in an order that has nothing to do with logic. The language is unlike anything ever spoken or written before. The plot, which involves the complicity and choice of every character, whose cause-effect-cause-effect can be traced back to the beginning of time, to the beginning of a life, to the a few simple selfish choices, is extremely complex. The layers of choice and choicelessness, of fate and fear, are such that everyone is part of everything. All the time.
But it’s simple, too. It’s about human nature. About the Love Laws, that everyone knows. About the end of childhood. About death and the end of living.
Everything about the book is beautiful and complicated, in one glorious piece of achingly, gorgeously painful art. But everything about the book is simple, too. Because everything is about the things men do. And women. Governments and history. The arbiters of life and death. Big and Small.