Based on reviews and the beautiful voice of the author, I was so looking forward to this read but sadly became disappointed with it rather quickly. There's more backstory than story in this novel, and by the end of it, I felt as though I read a bunch of character bios strung together around a fairly standard plot.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with backstory but not every character introduced needs one, and personally I don’t care about a peripheral character who has very little impact on the story no matter how haunting or lyrical or emotional their past is. Soon, it all began to feel a bit too contrived how people’s pasts seem to fit perfectly for what was needed in the plot.
In fairness, I have a peeve about being told up front and in great detail everything about the characters and their pasts. It always feels like a cheat to me. I prefer to get to know the characters (and develop my opinion about them) as they go through the challenges of the story being told. So this was doomed for me from the start.
That aside, the prose had an ease to it, the dialogue rang true, the characters were distinctive, and the story (while not quite objectively told even though I think it might’ve aimed to be) brought up some evergreen issues that will always have more than one side to them.