This is one of the books that my partner is reading for his book club at work (the first book being Orhan Pamuk’s Snow), and I thought it would be fun to read the same ones he did. I enjoyed it, although it wasn’t quite what I was expecting.
The description makes it seem like it’s going to be largely about music producer Bennie Salazar and his assistant Sasha, and to some extent it is; the first two chapters focus on them individually. However, all of the remaining chapters are about people who are in some way in Bennie’s or Sasha’s orbits, and sometimes this is quite indirectly, such as the chapter about Bennie’s ex-wife’s old boss (although in another chapter the boss’s daughter comes into play more directly). Often there is reference to Bennie or Sasha (though more often Bennie, I think), but mostly these chapters are about people with whom Bennie and Sasha have crossed paths. These include family members, old classmates from high school and college, and people in the music industry. It ends up reading like an assemblage of loosely related short stories.
This is not to say that the novel is uninteresting or poorly written because it was an entertaining read that kept my attention. There are flashbacks and flashforwards, chapters takes place in a variety of years, and the last chapter is set in the very near future and is a little disconcerting in how realistically it portrays the potential trajectories of technology and language. I also enjoyed the psychological aspects, both direct ones (Bennie and Sasha each have therapists and we learn tidbits about their therapy) and getting into the character’s heads in general. Overall it was a solid read that I would recommend. My only quibble was that I would have preferred a more cohesive story than was presented, and this is just personal preference about having that many POVs.