Disclaimer: I received an electronic copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. I am friends with the author and we shared a publisher.
The flow and style of the language in this novel took me on a trip around the world that I’m not sure I wanted to come back from. Whether it was modern-day, war-torn Afghanistan, the European countryside that wasn’t in much better shape during the Great War, or the humid depths of the Mexican jungle, I was one hundred percent there with the characters. Even when I wasn’t precisely sure what was going on, I didn’t necessarily care because the words swept me up in their wake.
My lack of understanding had nothing to do with Miller’s presentation of the plot. Instead, it was due to a fascinating combination of two unreliable narrators, neither one of whom was entirely sympathetic. Nevertheless, their incredibly vivid descriptions of both the real and the not-real that they encountered (such as trippy Mayan cosmology and PTSD flashbacks) clung tight and wouldn’t let go.
One of the ways in which Miller’s adeptness with words truly shined was not just in how Ben’s PTSD was painfully but realistically represented but also in how his psychiatric drug use seemed to keep him mentally in the “sandbox” overlaid on the reality of his travels through Mexican streets.
This is a book I will definitely make time to re-read in the future, to better appreciate the story-telling loops that connect everything up to the very end. Like a fine wine, this is a story you’re supposed to savor and enjoy…and then go back for a second glass.
Rating: 5 (out of 5) stars. Cross-posted to Amazon.
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