Lovely Little Shelf) and who just so happens to be my reading twin. She recommended this one and I, of course, fell in love. It's not really a book that lends itself well to summary, as it's a story within a story within a story, but it's a beautiful meditation on love of all kinds.
Holy. Moly. Yes. This isn't an easy read, but it's a beautiful read. I had some moments where I wasn't quite sure where I was in the story (it all came together at the end) but I still couldn't put it down because the words were just so beautiful. I can't rave enough about the quality of the writing.
I was worried when I started this one. I'd heard that there wasn't just a whole lot in the way of plot (which is kind of a literary fiction stereotype to being with) and I knew the main character, Leo Gursky, was old. When I started reading and realized he was old and lonely, I almost stopped right then. There are a few things that I just can't handle in books: dead mamas, little boys who just want their distant daddies to love them, and lonely old people. I actively try to avoid books with those themes and I was kind of stressed when I realized that a major theme of this book was going to be Leo's loneliness. If it weren't for Jacki, I probably would have thrown in the towel, and I'm so glad I didn't.
The novel is also most definitely character-driven. It's about motivations and family and what love means - it's not a juicy gossip novel and there's not really any action. So you can't go into it expecting lots of drama or, honestly, much of anything plot-wise. But that doesn't mean it's not interesting. All of the characters are fleshed out and their motivations are understandable and sympathetic. It's just a beautiful story (stories) and very moving.
Highly recommend it, especially for lovers of character-driven novels or literary ficton, aspiring writers, or those who enjoy reading about complex emotions. If you're looking for a quick read or a fast pace, this isn't the one for you, but the beautiful writing more than makes up for the lack of plot.