Overall it is a bitty and uneven novel of varying quality. The first part is both poetic and profound, full of fiery and angry melodrama, and observations on the transforming power of love, friendship, and loneliness. The second part is told from a new perspective, where the the plot is unraveled intriguingly by a psychiatrist’s examination. Here, the tone of the novel shifts from the melodramatic towards the more cerebral, as matters of memory and how the mind works are discussed. This is done so well that it is apparent the author is writing from experience. The first two parts of the novel, then, are well written. They are good enough in themselves to make the novel a worthwhile reading experience.
It is unfortunate that the last part detracts from the whole. It is another shift of perspective, and focus, but it is less successful in its pacing, which is my main bugbear. The narrative slows to a crawl as it follows one man’s convalescence. Very little is revealed or progressed during the course of forty pages, where the novel becomes too coy. This slows down the novel’s momentum and overall emotional impact significantly. However, the final pages pick up in pace and reach resonant conclusion which salvages things somewhat. It stresses of the importance of robust ethics for those people who would be better than us; particularly reverence for what has come before. Overall it is a good novel, but my feeling is it could have been a great novel.