It’s won major prizes. Critics have salivated over it, and so have book bloggers. So picking up this book from the library… oh the anticipation! The wait to reach No. 1 on the hold list (the wait is probably a lot longer now that it won the Pulitzer), the glee at seeing that turquoise-blue colour with a printout that has my name on it (it’s all mine! For 3 weeks at least)… so why has it taken me so long to write about it? I could use the usual excuse but really it’s not that. I think it’s because of all that buzz, all those prizes. I was expecting, demanding, even, to be floored. And I wasn’t quite.
I’m trying to recall the storyline right now, and erm, I can’t quite. You might say, maybe it’s the sleep deprivation! But I can recall quite a bit of Tom Rachman’s The Imperfectionists, which I had read earlier than this, so nope. Browsing through other GoodReaders’ thoughts on the book, I get glimpses of the storyline. Ah yes, it opens with Sasha, the kleptomaniac. That much I remember. And something about Bennie, and a teenage punk band, and a guy with a fish. Then something about a walk in the desert and solar panels. And a bath tub in an apartment. And an amazing concert that blew everyone away, and parrots. So many missing pieces! It’s like piecing together a jigsaw puzzle without any idea of what the full picture is. I wish I could say more about the plot, but you’ve probably read all about it, wherever you turned. Did all the hype overdo it for me? Perhaps. I couldn’t disregard it, I couldn’t put that anticipation out of my mind. Because this book really just sounds so me. I love music. Rock, indie, that’s my thing (I was the kind of person who had to delete mp3s from my iPod because there was no more space. I even went to Sydney just to see Radiohead in concert). And this book just pulsates with music. I should love it, shouldn’t I? But I got tangled up in the chapters meandering among characters, voice, time and place. I enjoyed reading the chapters individually, there is no doubt that Egan has that touch. Not too pushy, not too subtle. Quite effortless. But today I can’t quite seem to pull the threads together. I don’t know… was it just too fast-paced and modern for my addled mind? Perhaps some day, many days, weeks, months, years even, down the road, I will pick this up again and I will understand why everyone seems to love it. But for now, it wasn’t really for me. So I’m going to have to say: Read it? Maybe.