After reading this book, it came as no surprise to find John Burnside had published 7 previous collections of poetry. The book is eloquence itself, written in a style that makes the very reading of the words a pleasure.
But, like poetry often is, it is one of those books where you emerge at the end wondering just exactly what happened, what it is you are supposed to have gained from the experience.
It is essentially about the central character's coming of age, but so often I found little pockets building up to something only to suddenly become forgotten as the author moved us on to somewhere else. Without doubt this was the intention, for the author is obviously adequately skilled to provide us with the landscape he sees in his head. Only problem for me, was that it all seemed too clever. I wanted more from the rapist, more from the central character's crazy housemate, than the loose subplots and flat phazings out that we received.
I don't know, maybe I wanted too much. Good, and I certainly felt moved by reading it, but can't shake the feeling that, although the book may have reached its logical conclusion from the author's point of view, the reader might want more.