Recommendation: Meh, take it or leave it
Where to read: Summer holiday
Read with: Brandy
In brief: It’s fine – just another American author trying way too hard to be A Great Author (Melville, Whitman, I’m looking at you here). I’d suggest you go read something else depressing (and shorter) instead.
There are some people who’ve loved, adored, waxed lyrical or rhapsodised at length about (etc) this book- I am not one of them. Sure, I got through it in substantially less than a day, stopping to drink tea and that’s about it, but I am now struggling to write this because I don’t remember anything particularly interesting to write about.
First off, way, way too much in the way of “motif of deep and profound significance” going on here – just calm the fuck down and skip the pretentious, pseudo-profound nonsense. Don’t get me wrong, love me some ornithology, but the pages and pages about birds goes absolutely nowhere and I have no idea where the “mythic jewel out of a Paulo Coelho novel” fits in other than as a trite plot device which actually gets in the way of the plot. The obsession with radios does at least have some point, but it’s so muddied by everything else it becomes the most annoying “theme/motif” of them all.
Second, why does it always have to be about the Second World bloody War??? Whenever an author wants a lazily poignant background for a tragic story (and a Pulitzer, Man Booker or screenwriting Oscar), WWII here we go again. Can’t we all just agree it peaked somewhere around Atonement and find something else fucking miserable to write about. Or, how ’bout this for a suggestion, write about the war in the Pacific or the war in North Africa or the Russian front – or does that mess with the required “research trip” to the south of France…
Third … actually nope, I’m out.