A Sombre, Brutal Read With a Fantasy Feel
This was really quite a dark and sombre read. Its somewhat gory, certainly quite violent with bloody violence depicted, so its certainly not for younger readers.
It features quite a large number of characters which I struggled to keep track of a bit. The setting and some of the scenarios in the plots/sub plots made me think of it as having a bit of a fantasy type flavour to it. If your not very imaginative then you'll likely struggle to picture the various circumstances depicted. It was somewhat immersive but it probably isn't the easiest read overall. Also it doesn't shy away from things, including awkward family issues, rape, shame and the pain of hidden secrets, among other things.
Also, although its forgotten perhaps mid way through the novel as its only brought to the readers attention at certain points in the book, its written in a first person narrative but from a historical viewpoint, in as much as the character tells the reader about their relatives in the past, so we read the narrator talking as if having a friendly conversation with us on ocassion and that lifts the sometimes quite bleak tone of the book. Certainly the 2nd part of the book is a bit more jovial at times and, thus, upbeat. There are a number of historical references as well, which I presume to be factually accurate, or certainly thereabouts.
It seemed to me a bit like a nightmarish adult fairy tale of sorts and the ending I found a bit disappointing. It makes the reader question things even more and if your not keen on books that dont clear up all the loose ends then trust me - you won't enjoy this. It is somewhat vivid and immersive but it was a bit too brutal and sad for me.
Suffice to say, this won't be a novel to suit all. It wasn't one of the best reads for me personally but some people will probably enjoy it, as a form of escapism perhaps as im not sure that 'enjoy' is a word that fully relates to a book of this sort. Overall its a reasonable book, hence my rating.