I had a few people recommend this book to me, raving about it, but I’m not so sure I’d pass on the same way.
I liked that start well enough, Leila seemed to be written well and have an interesting story — a lady working for a nonprofit health organization struggling to get a foothold in Burma seemed ripe with possibilities. But when the reader is thrust into the fairly shallow and scattered straits of Leo’s head on a bike ride into his job at a day care I ran aground.
The first paragraph of Leo’s story, the first sentence, just slopped out, for me. “Turning his head to look at the Fremont Bridge sparkling in the sharp light of the November morning, Leo felt his chin rasp across the collars of his two woolen shirts and his canvas work coat.” I just think I’m not a big fan of third person subjective, especially when it seems like we get only one (fairly boring) dimension of a character.
When I emerged into the Mark Deveraux chapter I felt like I could breath again and the narrative jolted to life a little for me, the prose seemed to flow a little better, but I did worry that a third of the book would be spent with a character I just didn’t believe.
The conspiracy at the heart of the book coalesces, it doesn’t race, and that’s kind of enjoyable. But I just found myself getting frustrated by some clunky dialogue and lengthy descriptions and the fact that much of the story hinged on Leo just didn’t work for me.