I can definitely see why there's such a wide range of opinions where this extremely creative, very dark work is concerned.
When I began reading it, I wasn't quite sure that I was going to fall in line with the writing style. It takes a touch to get used to, especially if you're used to more of a straight forward and direct narrative or dialogue style. But I'm happy to report that about twenty pages in, I was sucked right into it and the characters' world of prep school. I think most readers will become happily immersed in the story.
The book is told through sections narrated by Julius, Noel and William. Julius and Noel couldn't be any more uniquely different from each other. Julius is your stereotypical alpha male -- handsome, well-built and extremely interested in sports and the opposite sex. His sections are written in a very choppy manner but I think it does a great job of capturing how young boys think, act and talk to each other. Mr. McAdam hit a home run with that as far as Julius' sections are concerned. Noel on the other hand, is not very well received by the rest of his schoolmates. He's a loner, a reader and extremely intelligent. His sections boast some of the book's best writing. There's a ton of passages that you'll find yourself reading again or highlighting to remember later because they're just really beautiful. I thought to myself more than a few times "this is how words should light up the page." But as the book goes on and Noel develops what he thinks is a lasting relationship with Julius and his beautiful girlfriend, you come to find that Noel may or may not have some problems between his ears. He's more than a little obsessive and just plain scary at times.
The book was a pleasure to read and I flew through it. My only complaint (and it's not really that big of a complaint when I think about it) is that the last fifteen pages or so really don't wrap things up even just a little bit. But maybe that's part of the fun.
Very good novel. Highly entertaining with writing that borders on legendary at times and a pretty good mystery to boot. If you're on the fence about this one, I would say it's worth your time and money. It's so different and off-beat that it comes as a breath of fresh air to anyone who loves a good yarn.
- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: Jonathan Cape (2 April 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0224087835
- ISBN-13: 978-0224087834
- Product Dimensions: 14.2 x 2.8 x 22.3 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 481 g
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