I can’t decide if I wasn’t a fan of this book because it was assigned to me and I had no choice but to read it over a four day period, or if I wasn’t a fan due to it actually not being my cup of tea.
Because there were parts that I loved…truly, the writing and craft in here is absolutely beautiful. But it just sort of goes on. And on. And on. Like, you know….
The book is a letter from the narrator (whose name I honestly never remembered) to her childhood friend, Nina, who disappeared about fifteen years before the letter is written.
The narrative is plot-less, which, while it works for this type of set-up, I think was one of the things that threw me off since I am a reader who is all about that plot.
The narrative weaves between the past and the present, melding one into the other, juxtaposing the then and the now for this missing character. Again, the writing is painfully beautiful at times, and the descriptions of place and setting and the passage of time really resonated with me. I particularly enjoyed any time the narrator describes her work in the nursing home, or her family when Nina is absent.
But the narrator gives whole chapters over to fantasizing about what Nina is doing in the present, even though she has no idea if Nina is even alive, and the twenty pages of speculation every 4th chapter really irritated me. I honestly skipped over most of them since they added little to the story as a whole, and just seemed to up the page count of the book.
It also felt interminable, I kept watching the percent on my kindle and willing it to go above 40% for a vast majority of the read. I also found myself amusingly distracted for most of this book by the thought of the narrator actually sending this letter since it would probably have to be fork-lifted to the post office.
So in conclusion, the writing is exceptional, but if you’re not into reading for the beauty of sentence structure, I wouldn’t recommend this book.