Originally published at my blog Chasing Empty Pavements
The Good: Oh. My. Gawd. This book has some of THE most beautiful sentences ever written. The language was not just beautifully written but there were a few sentences I shivered with how much I felt while reading them. I love the simple sentiment of this sentence, "In a long relationship, there are just some night when you're more in love than others. Whatever it is, you realize that you not only love him, but you're proud to be with him." It's not a complex sentence, but it's simplicity stands out among the complexity of the scene it's in. I don't know why, I just loved seeing it there. I loved the way this book was written from Helena's perspective. It reminded me of Lovely Bones except Abramson did such a brilliant job of weaving Helena's observations, thoughts and opinions along with dialogue from the other characters. So it didn't feel like I was being talked AT or only getting a one-sided perspective. Abramson takes a lot of somber themes and makes the reader really think about them. This is the first novel I've read that made me wonder...what would it feel like for the person who died if they had to watch over us? We always focus on what the living feels like, how they should respond to grief or the mourning process. But what about the dead? Not just the broad questions of grieving and healing but how would someone who is dead feel watching their spouse pack away their clothing from the closet or witness a intimate kiss after they've moved on? Even further is to wonder how deeply the yearning for human interaction, intimacy and the senses would be. These are feelings Abramson attempts to rouse in readers during this novel.One of the biggest questions Abramson brings up is that of Animal Rights especially when it comes to primates. I have not read many novels with this as the main premise and I have to say it was very heartbreaking and eye opening.
The Bad: There is not much I can say about this novel that is negative. I genuinely thought it was a great novel. It was different than some of the other books I've raved about. It didn't have much "action" per say but it was more of a thinking novel. Sometimes I felt like Helena was narrating about things that really had no relevance to the novel and some could have been cut out. I also wish that Abramson would have fleshed out some of the characters a little more. I felt like he was just about to give us some more so that we REALLY knew them, but then never did.
Other than those few nit picky details, I enjoyed this novel immensely. Neil Abramson is a brilliant crafter of language and creates a vivid and remarkable story.
**I received this book free from the publisher through www.netgalley.com. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.