March 18, 2023
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Fascinating, absorbing, titillating. This book had me in its grasp from the get-go, and I devoured it.
The book seemed to be the marriage of two others--Philip Roth's The Human Stain and Olga Tokarczuk's Drive Your Plows Over the Bones of the Dead. Let me explain.
Roth writes a campus novel that, early on and presciently, explored the transition from old school academia and the changing moral landscape. Roth explored race, of course, though sex was also included (as it almost always was for him). He also seemed to explore the ways all humans are stained by sin. This campus novel, through gender and sex, explores similar themes, as older professors are caught in the changing moral dynamics of the university and are grappling with their own role and whether they should feel guilt and shame.
What I felt similar to Tokarczuk was the narrator's voice and how there's this sense of threat hanging over everything and the sense that there's much more to the narrator than what she initially reveals to us.
For much of the novel, I expected it was going to get very dark, maybe even delving into the realm of gothic horror. However, it did not. It ended much more positively than I anticipated it would. But I still really enjoyed it and thought the ending quite beautiful.
This is a novel that will stay with me.
View all my reviews