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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)
This book is a brilliantly woven story from start to finish, and the quality of the writing is utterly top-tier.
In the category of characterization, every character is believable to the point of unreasonable authenticity; one could be forgiven for mistaking this for a memoir, on account of its credibility of characters, plot, and dialogue.
It’s a rare author that can handle all three of those things well; many, perhaps the majority, fall down in one or more of those areas. Not so in this case.
Everything is easy-reading in terms of its flow, but nothing is oversimplified. There are no long flowery descriptions, yet scenes come alive by themselves all the same. There are no Jane-Eyre-on-the-moors scenes of emotion, yet one could imagine this getting a film adaptation under Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Director: Amélie, Un long dimanche de fiançailles, and such).
This book has occasional words and phrases in non-English languages, and unlike in many books, this isn’t screwed up (worst crime here being clearly a typing error, “Sonderkraftfahzeug” rather than “Sonderkraftfahrzeug”). One of the main characters is Russian, and she manages to get in quite a lot of little snippets of Russian into her conversations, without descending into Poirotism. In fact, her use of Russian in English is, upon reflection, very well analogous to my use of occasional English in French; things where the translation just doesn’t go so well, and the meaning is clear from context in any case. I was also very pleased to see Sveta (the Russian character) making only the most natural of language errors; a lot of writers mess up and give characters errors that a native speaker of that language wouldn’t make. This may seem like a minor thing, but to me it really adds a huge amount of authenticity when an author does it well.
In short, an expertly written book that I’d highly recommend to, well, pretty much anyone who enjoys reading books.
The book has a strong message of friendship, family, beliefs and the right thing to do. The conflict with our own self and self discovery is what is the highlight. It’s a kind of plot that makes you think after you finish the book.
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