I hear voices. But maybe that's because there's always an Audible book in my ear.
Before I downloaded the book, I saw where another reviewer warned that it takes about 9 hours to get into it. That was VERY helpful info. I easily could have put it aside those first hours. I kept at it because of the warning and I'm very glad I did.
Hayes takes his time setting up the characters and the scenario. The first part of the book sounds and feels like non-fiction. It's interesting - because of the history and insight it provides - but it can be a little dry. It really lays a foundation so you can understand what makes people who they are. And then it turns into a rip-roaring page-turner.
I normally don't go for thrillers, but this one is exceptional. There's an expert pacing to everything that keeps you engaged even when there's no action. Hayes has a way of foreshadowing that also keeps the ball rolling. The characters are well formed, flawed and interesting. There's enough history thrown in that sometimes the events feel entirely plausible. Perhaps that's what makes it so engaging - and terrifying.
It all adds up to one thing: this is definitely a credit-worthy summer read.
this is your book. Ivan Doig has been called "The New Wallace Stegner" for a long time. I love Wallace Stegner, so I take that comparison seriously. There have always been similar threads, but never has the quality of the writing been as close to - or better than Stegner's - than in this book.
Doig has a way of writing about small events and everyday people that makes even an annual fishing event sound interesting. (Perfect example is a "bit" he wrote about looking for ticks. I never would have guessed there was a story in that. There is when it's in Doig's hands and it's funny.) I also think there's an element of autobiography in this one with Rusty, the young narrator.
I love the crisp writing, the use of local jargon - as he calls it "lingua America" - and the bits of history woven in for good measure. I love the 87 ways he can allude to sex without ever getting into the nitty gritty of it. But I especially love his characters - so real you can almost reach out and touch them.
There's a special feeling you get with certain books. The characters come and live at your house while you're listening. Rusty and his dad have been at my house the last few days and I miss them terribly now that they're gone. Very few books measure up to this in terms of pure, good writing. It's such a joy.
Sometimes you see a house in a magazine that makes you stop and stare. It's true to itself down to the finest detail - a real architectural feat. Even though you may not love the style, you admire the craftsmanship and the level of precision and craftsmanship that went into creating it. That is precisely how I would describe this book.
It's covers some tough topics - like immigration and PTSD - just for starters. That's not new. What's new is the actual writing style. It's SO unique. There's a spareness to it that feels like everything has been boiled down to its most basic elements. The sights and sounds just come at you and it's up to you to interpret them. The way it's written makes you feel like you're seeing it for yourself and deciding what has emotional value.
This book gave me an understanding of a life I will never experience. I know it's been described as a love story, but I just didn't see it that way. For me, it was a book of survival and hope.
I really wondered about the narrator during the first few minutes. He sounds like an automaton. Then I understood it. He delivered this exactly the way it was written. Great choice in the end.
Though I can't say I loved this book - it made me too uncomfortable for that - I really admire the achievement. It is stunning. I think I'll just stop and stare a while.