All right then, I think we're all agreed that this isn't the book to read if you're prowling for the psychological depths and serious tone Mme. Reyes laid out for us in "The Butcher". Having said this, however, I think the book stands well on its own merits. In a strictly technical sense, it can't be easy to design a novel that gives the reader two plot options at the end of every chapter and then rewrite the whole thing from the viewpoint of the opposite gender. (Which gender did she start out with first? One wonders.) And rest assured, not all the "doors" you open will lead to particularly pleasurable experiences. There's one chapter in particular involving a monstrously obese woman and chickens. (I'll leave it at that!)
But such bizzare, jarring interludes help to give the book a diverse, interesting texture and, conversely, I found some of the vignettes wonderfully playful and entertaining in a dreamy, surreal fashion. One has to admire the author for the fecundity of her imagination. There's this delightful, voyeuristic promenade beneath a transparent sidewalk, for instance. (As it turns out, not all those women up there chose to wear "knickers" beneath their dress.) Indeed, at its best, the book has the same refreshingly unusual tone of some of Fellini's more lighthearted cinematic romps. ("City Of Women" comes to mind)
The book is wonderful mind-candy, a tangy-sweet, undemanding french pastry of a read, perfect for unwinding at the begining of the weekend and, by all means, take the time to read at least parts of it out loud with some one you love. Who knows? Some interesting "doors" of your own might open.