I AM NOT ALLOWED TO GET LIT-FIC FROM BOOK OF THE MONTH ANYMORE*. I am completely unable to judge this book on it own merits because I was so unenthused while reading it, and the style really put me off. People are absolutely shitting themselves over this one, and it sounded so interesting to me, I’m upset I didn’t get anything out of it.
*Except, this one time they had The Vanishing Half? And I loved that book. Maybe I will just make my rule no lit-fic as my main pick, only as add-ons at a later date, which come to think of it is what I did for The Vanishing Half, after everyone loved it so much, including lots of people whose tastes I can calibrate off of.
There is really a dearth of literature placing gay men into the historical narrative. As far as I can tell this book did a good job with that, I just really, really did not like the style. There was this Greek chorus thing going on with the ancestors of the characters that really did nothing for me at all, and the book switched between many, many different narrators, with almost every chapter. I have liked many a book with multiple narrators, but most of those are fantasy books that have double, triple, or even quadruple the page length. There is more time to get to know them. Here, there was not that time. It’s much more snapshotty. It felt like he was going for form over function, and I almost never like that. I didn’t care very much for any of these characters, just because I didn’t know them very well, even by the end.
For different tastes, this will (and has! obviously) play very differently.