What a weird little book. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad… it just is. This was another pick for my YA class this summer, and one that I’d been meaning to read since I heard about it on NPR a while back. Not sure I’d have finished it except for my class, though.
The beginning is… awkward, is how I’d put it. As soon as I started reading, I was like, “Wait, this is a young adult book? Ooookay.” It starts with a, um, romp in the hay, as it were, between a young man and woman, and then gets into icky incest between a different young woman and her father, and abortions, and then has a, well, a gang rape. It is less than delightful. It is pretty awful, actually. Which is, I guess, appropriate. But anyway. Soon after these horrible things, the second young woman, Liga, comes across some fancy magic and gets transported into a lovely world where all of the bad people she used to know are gone and where she can raise her two daughters (yes, from the aforementioned bad things) in peace. But of course, it being magic and all, it’s not perfect, and soon outsiders who have no business being in Liga’s world are barging in all willy-nilly and upsetting the balance of Liga’s life.
I liked the middle part of this book very much, with the outsiders and the daughters dealing with them and their lives and Liga sort of seeing what kind of world she lived in. But the beginning part was squicky, and the ending part dragged on a little long and sort of danced around whatever points Lanagan was trying to make. However, I appreciated the point that I did catch on to, that perfect heaven worlds aren’t really all they’re cracked up to be, and I was interested in the descriptions of the real world Liga left behind. This is definitely a good book for thinking about, and would probably make a great book club read if you had the right people for it.
Pass me yours, if you’ve got ’em.