Top critical review
The book of "I don't know."
Reviewed in the United States on January 7, 2020
Initially, I was drawn to this book because of its interesting premise, but unfortunately the execution just wasn’t satisfying for me. While the third-person omniscient point of view works in some respects here—particularly in getting inside the telepathic-like communication between Roger and Dodger—it ultimately falls flat because no one in the novel really knows anything. In fact, the phrase “I don’t know” is repeated so many times therein that I began to question why I was reading anymore. As a reader, I could relate though because even after 523 pages, I walked away with so many unanswered questions: What was Reed’s actual motivation all along, and why did he never actually act on it? What does it mean to “manifest” in the end? What is the “Impossible City”? Why write over 500 pages of repetitive buildup only to have the novel conclude in the short manner it did? Why was Roger’s gift and knowledge of linguistics not as integral (beyond just saying “do this” to Dodger) to the story? What is the point of the random, rather confusing excerpts of “Over the Woodward Wall” (beyond basing a spin-off series on them)? Etc.
In short, I wanted more from this book, especially given the length of it, but was ultimately left unsatisfied.