I enjoyed this book, both for the writing and the fascinating characters. It's not perfect - I'm not sure how well the meditations on the main character's life as an adult work, for example. But the scenes on the ship are strange and beautiful, almost like magical realism at times.
Wonderful book. Barnes uses the first person to create an intriguing portrait of a man who is difficult to like. Time and memory are the themes, but there's enough of a story to keep things moving. It's not often that I read something and immediately want to read it again, but that's how this one hit me.
I was torn between this rating and four stars, because I found Banks' writing - as always - simply wonderful. But wow, this book was SO long. I think it could have used some editing, especially since there's relatively little action or dialog. And yet, it kept me going so I can't say I was bored. And it really sparked my interest in John Brown and the whole history of the U.S. preceding the Civil War.
Loved the voice of Oskar, and the use of graphics throughout the book. I was less crazy about the voices of the grandparents - at times those sections just seemed too gimmicky. Still, a fascinating story and so much more complex than the movie.
I mostly hated this book. I hated the language and all the histrionics. At one point, I threw the book across the room. Why I finished it I'll never know - mainly I was trying to see what so many people liked about it, but I never figured that out.
I didn't like this book. Perhaps I expected too much, since the book got many positive reviews, but I found it tiresome. The characters seemed forced and unreal, as did the plot. I'm a big fan of magical realism, but this book doesn't fit that category, in my opinion - it's actually sort of a mess of different styles. There was some nice writing, but that wasn't enough to win me over. For some reason I did read it through to the end, but I was glad when it was over.