Top positive review
Completely captivating from beginning to end.
Reviewed in the United States on May 19, 2020
This book touches on so much – a lot of heavy subjects (class, race, child abuse, rape, mental illness, divorce, murder, prison and more), but surprisingly, it usually do so in a sort of chatty tone, like a good friend trying to amuse you more than bum you out. Overall, the book reads more like a page-turner, and really doesn’t feel especially heavy. It opens in 1968 with the story of two college roommates at an all-woman’s school in New York, and basically follows their lives through all the changes to come, over the next thirty or so years. One comes from money, but is trying to escape her background and is fairly involved with leftist causes, the other (really the main character) comes from a more modest background, and seems more interested in just fitting in. There’s lots of memorable characters throughout the book (I was maybe most interested in the narrative around the main character’s younger sister, who runs away from home as a young teenager), and lots of memorable events. It’s actually kind of amazing how much Sigrid Nunez was able to cram into this book… it’s 390 pages long, but seems to have 800 pages worth of completely captivating story.