Ongoing notes as I read … via Goodreads which is where I comment on these things, both for my memory before doing an actual review and also often just because I wanna. Even if I’m not formally reviewing a book, looking at these notes is interesting in tracking my feelings as I go sometimes. And it will start conversations on Goodreads, which I enjoy quite a lot.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I don’t remember asking for this review book but it showed up in the mail today … just a touch over 1,050 pages long in hardback … one of the thickest books I’ve ever seen.
I admit to being intrigued by positive reviews from people whose judgement I respect, like Jeff Miller, however, I am not really a Michael O’Brien fan as such. I remember reading one of his well known books that ended in apocalypse (somehow I have the feeling that is the case for most of his books, but I don’t know … having read only the one book). I really liked it up until about the last fourth of the book, when it got very surreal and quite disturbing in a way that gave me nightmares. I don’t mind surreal, creepy, or apocalyptic, as anyone knows who glances over my books list, but … this one I didn’t like.
I’ll be curious to see if this is different … or hits me differently.
I liked the first four pages and that’s a good start.
Quietly moving along, the story is interesting so far. Of course, it is going to be no surprise when Andrew never turns up and his father has to go find him in Russia. I’m no newbie to foreshadowing! It is no Dickens, Lord of the Rings, or Tolstoy yet, as the jacket blurbs like to claim, but it isn’t bad.
Obviously now at about 350 pages into the book, I’m in for the long haul. You’d think the story of a father trying to find and rescue his missing (college age) son from a religious cult would be sensational, quick paced, shocking! Well, no. However, as O’Brien tells it there is something that keeps pulling me along … he’s telling the story well and I can feel for the father’s uncertainty about what action to take, his constant worry about lack of funds (he’s in Russia on the trail), and his worry over whether his son is being held against his will or whether this is the son’s choice … and what to do if that is the case.
UPDATE 3 – 600 pages into the book
This is definitely an interesting tale in that it contrasts the usual thriller type fare of cults, being lost in a strange country with little more than the clothes on one’s back, etc. with a slow, meditative pace. Even though we don’t understand all that is going on, in fact we understand very little that is going on which makes us equal with the protagonist, there is food for thought sprinkled throughout the journey. I have never read Tolstoy so I can’t say if this book is similar (as one endorser did), but it is definitely worth reading.
UPDATE 4 – 750 pages into the book
Also, can I just say that it is just now that it occurs to me that “The Father” mentioned in the title might not simply be referring to Alexander Graham? It took something that he thought or one of the characters said or something, but what a dummy I am! Although, to be fair, I am not sure that is a very obvious point.