• Print Length: 624 pages
• Publisher: Harper (May 5, 2015)
As summer draws to a close, a Small Long Island town is plagued by a series of mysterious deaths— and one young man, a loner taken in by a local, tries to piece together the crimes before his own time runs out.
A literary mystery, heavy on literary with the mystery pulling together the last quarter of the book.
I have never read a novel with such well developed characters. You are privy to personalities, thoughts, psyche. Backgrounds revealed providing comprehensive development. The small close knit town of Orient is fully presented in minute particulars. You’ll feel as if you’re looming above silently absorbing the residents in the private unaccepting community to outsiders as the epic story unleashes.
I have mixed feelings regarding the narrative. I thoroughly enjoyed the literary feel. I had no idea where the story would lead, what characters would be involved, intrigue was plentiful. I vacillated between being utterly absorbed to totally distracted. Parts became long winded and too drawn out. I appreciate details, often abundant details cause disturbances. Clearly more tell than show serving well but tedious at times. Zero predictability, satisfying conclusion.
Mills served as a wonderful main character, and I liked Beth and her personal struggles. They way these two became friends eliminated the sterile feeling which would would have existed if these two didn’t breathe life into Orient and all it holds. Given the number of characters I can’t help but feel a few could have been removed. Luz felt like unnecessary filler in an already jammed packed narrative, her absence would not have been missed. There were moments feeling as if too many cooks were in the kitchen, on the other hand, the mix added plausibility and texture to this esoteric hamlet.
Literary fans will love the burst of mystery Bollen masterfully crafts. A read meant to be enjoyed slowly with its keen details. Quite a little town with plenty of intrigue, inhabitants full of secrets and conniving ideas.
About Christopher Bollen
Christopher Bollen is an editor at large for Interview magazine. He is the author of the novel Lightning People, and his work has appeared in GQ, the New York Times, the Believer, and Artforum, among other publications. He lives in New York.
Find out more about Christopher at his website.
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