25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Flat? Drawbacks? No way - this is a great book!, 14 Oct. 2002
A terrific, thoughtful and deeply engaging mystery, this book completely tangles you into the gothic, foggy, deceptive world it describes. I've rarely read something so exceptionally well-crafted and intelligent. Moreover, it's not the pretentious, associative rambling that often passes for 'literary' writing, but tightly focussed story and characterisation. The narrator is sometimes half-informed, or untrustworthy, or disoriented - that's the point, the reader has to do some work to discover what's going on! So refreshing to have to engage with a work and really think about what's happening on a myriad of levels. This book makes you puzzle over themes of history, story-telling, reliable narration, constructing truth from what we see and read and hear, but all in a completely involving way. And that's one lesson you come away with, and made me go straight back to the beginning of the book: narrative curiosity and that itching hunger to find out the truth are what makes us read and learn and basically get out and live. This book is wonderful precisely because it plays games and infuriates and makes you go backward and forward - and anyone who considers themselves a reader of crime, historical fiction or 'literature' should give this a go and see what the novel form can still do.