If you’re looking for character development … this is not your book. If you’re looking for an exciting plot and story … this is not your book.
However, if you are looking for ponderous descriptions of landscapes and weather in an attempt to disguise how thin this story is … this IS your book. If you are looking for shallow, cardboard characters … this IS your book. If you are looking for a cure of insomnia … this IS your book.
I’ve always been amazed that literary critics buy into the notion that long descriptive passages and pages of character introspection equals great writing. Blame the literary professors who pass on this bias (probably because that’s the kind of fiction they write – so it must be brilliant, right?) to their students.
This prize-winning novel has a mystery so slight even Robert B. Parker and James Patterson would be embarrassed. It has so many ridiculous court room scenes that it makes me wonder if Mr. Guterson did his legal research by watching episodes of “Law & Order.” The main character is so unappealing that you wish for his demise. He spends most of the novel obsessing over a teenage love affair to the point of stalking and feeling sorry for himself and masturbating into his handkerchief.
The rest of the cast are such stock, cliqued characters it was like watching a paint-by-numbers TV show. The end of the novel is so abrupt you almost wonder if the printer made a mistake and the last 30 pages are mistakenly missing.