I just couldn't attach to the characters or the disjointed story line. Someone suggested the translation from Japanese to English may be the problem. Long winded episodes and recollections by some characters left me asking, "Why do we care about this?" In an attempt to create mystery the author instead combines too many bizarre, far fetched and frankly boring elements to get a toe hold on the story, if one was intended. The main character is a completely unsympathetic dolt! I wanted to scream at him, "Get a job and out of this story, you idiot!" Poorly connected plot, wandering dialogue, bizarre and unsympathetic characters ... I only made it through the first of the 3 segments. And I must agree with many other reviewers that the reader's attempt to give voice to the female characters is a disaster. Oh, how I tried to finish, to enjoy and find something worthwhile in this book. It's a rare book indeed that I just won't pursue to the end; add this one to that very short list. Maybe if I was alone on a deserted island I'd try to finish it. No, I think I'd be more engaged sifting sand! Do listen to a sample before you download.
Though I really enjoyed the early sections of this book there was plenty in the middle that could and should have been omitted or heavily edited. I don't think the story would have suffered had some entire parts been halved. I also had many questions about details of the story that don't line up successfully. I saw the movie with hopes that some things would be Illuminated ... no such luck. Fortunately, the author's second book, 'Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close' is a superior product. Foer's imaginative skill and tale telling talent can only continue to improve and I look forward to his future work.
I had no trouble losing myself in this book. Descriptions and characters are precisely and comprehensively drawn. The author has skillfully crafted each sentence and it's a real treat to read a book that is so well written. The story stands on it own merit. If you savor good literature and language this book will more than satisfy.
For pure entertainment read Skinny Dip, by Carl Hiaasen. Also a skilled author, his works are fast and fun reads.
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