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Reading the hype around this book and an article about how the author had left his native Romania to seek a bigger audience makes it sound like something quite special. The fact that it seems to have a slew of endorsements and that it attracted huge interest from publishers in so many countries further adds to its sheen. If it is so special I admit that I simply didn't get it. There is some cleverness in it and undoubtedly the third part of the book was much more enjoyable than the rest but nothing to match the claims being made.
The structure is interesting and concerns the murder of a college professor. It consists of three parts; an old manuscript for a book, a reporter's attempts to investigate the story followed by the last ditch attempts of one of the original investigating detectives to make sense out of it. To me each part was better than the previous one and the concluding section was genuinely enjoyable. However, maybe something got lost in translation, the language used jars often enough to be distracting.
What definitely doesn't help is the narration. With the slightly jarring text it felt like the first narrator was bored and just trying to get it over and done with as fast as possible. The combination of this text and narration was the audiobook equivalent of being machine gunned. Listen to the audio sample before you buy. Again as the book goes on the narration improves but never really reaches any great heights.
So, it is entirely possible that this audio production doesn't do the book full justice. It's also possible that I missed some of the subtlety and cleverness that is being claimed for it as my ear drums dodged some of the word bullets fired at them in that opening section. With those caveats in mind I can't really recommend this one as being much beyond a by the numbers whodunit with some twists and turns along the way.
7 of 10 people found this review helpful
While the climax isn't wow, it is a well-written and well structured novel. Surrounding the death of a professor, there are multiple narratives and plots working against each other, with the constant question raised throughout about who is telling the truth. Good not perfect first novel.