CBR11 BINGO: Listicle (Read it Forward’s Favorite Reads of June 2019)
This is a unique and wonderful book that I don’t think anyone could feel ambivalent about. It is definitely a novel that you will either love or hate. The title kept popping up all over the place so when the library had it on display I snatched it up. So glad that I did.
“The Travelers” is a sweeping saga following the lives of several different families who are interrelated to one another by blood or circumstance. The stories are mostly told out of sequence from the mid 1950’s through 2009 sweeping in and out of Berlin, Vietnam, Georgia and the Bronx. Epic in scope but painfully intimate, the narrative maps out the lives of several racially, sexually and economically diverse generations.
There is so much going on in this novel that I’m not sure what to really write about. It’s a very big and interesting slice of American pie served with a side dish of Shakespeare (both literally and figuratively).
Porter lays out her tale in a disjointed way that you REALLY have to work through. Honestly, I was about to give up on it near the beginning. There are a lot of people to keep track of and Porter does not slow down or give any exposition. The reader is dropped onto an already moving ride through the lives of these folks.
I was truly afraid that this novel was going to become one of those navel gazing fresh out of writer’s workshop “look what I can do with words” books. All technique and no substance. Fortunately, it was NOT. Here, the shifting back and forth throughout the lives of the characters may be a technique, but it is an effective one. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It is one of those books that is not easy; Porter doesn’t try to make it easy. However, the payoff as you slowly work your way into her world is totally worth it.
Just read it. I’m not doing it justice here. It is so much easier to write about books that I didn’t enjoy so my babbling here should really tell you something.