9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Wow!, 30 July 2010
I've only had this book a few days and have read less than 200 pages, but I am completely hooked. I knew nothing about the subject before reading a review in a local newspaper, and was intrigued so had to buy it. I can understand why Peter Matthiessen felt like he had to keep working on the story long after the original books were published in order to finish it off the way he wanted. The separate voice he creates for each character is so realistic and authentic that the author must have spent an awfully long time inside the head of each one. It must have been totally addictive.
Even though each chapter is written from the point of view of a different person, there is a common style all the way through that not only gets the author's voice across, but kind of shows how similar all the characters are deep down, that where they come from and how they've lived has influenced what they say and how they behave. It's an era and an area that I know hardly anything about, but the description is so good that I can see these places in my mind and I feel like I understand something about them.
I'm also really surprised at how I've been manipulated (not in a bad way) into feeling sympathy for the right character at the right time, so that each event brings out a proper emotional reaction in me. This is a real skill that not every writer has - I know I've been really disappointed in some books when they've failed to draw me in.
With the weekend coming up, I'm probably going to turn my phone off, curl up, get the coffee machine on, and finish this book. Can't wait!