Up to the fall of the World Trade Center in the last 50 or so pages, this book blew my mind. Chronicling the lives of three college friends now thirty and living in New York and struggling to come to terms with their own limitations while at the same time trying to change the world in some way, Messud's language is brilliant. Simultaneously, there exists a sense of entitlement drawn from their ivy league educations...urban revolutionists without a revolution. In the post-9/11 chapters however, it seems hurried in a wholly unsettling way. Though none of the characters are completely unlikeable, none of them are really all that likable either; their entitlement becomes distracting while their ambition is all but abandoned.
I excitedly picked up this book, looking forward to an enjoyable read about characters in the same time in life as myself. Unfortunately, I found myself continuing to read this novel and waiting: waiting for something, anything that might create some movement within the stories. I waited all the way to the last page and never found what I was looking for.
My mother-in-law gave me this book when I told her I was spending a lot of time reading with the baby at my breast. Like a lot of novels, it had acclaims printed all over it, and three full pages of critic quotes praising it at the beginning. However, for me it failed to deliver. The beginning kind of dragged, for one. Also, the author tended to write her character's thoughts in a stream-of-consciousness format that was incredibly hard to follow. She would start a sentance with a thought, then interrupt it with a second thought, then a third, then maybe a fourth, and then finish up the first thought. It was very hard to follow. Also, her characters were, for the most part, incredibly hard to sympathize with. The main characters were in their 30s and selfish, entitled, and bratty. I wanted to smack the lot of them. I think the reason the book got such rave reviews is that it takes place in 2001, from March to November, and the climax is the September 11th attacks. I had to work hard to get myself in a pre-9/11 mindset for the beginning of the book, and when the attacks came I was as shocked as the characters. Without including the horror of September 11th, her book would have been a tremendous disappointment. With it, the story was almost redeemed. Almost. I think the melancholy nature of many of the characters through the book affected my own post-partum mood.
This was not one of my favorite selections. I thought it rambled on in many places and found myself skimming through pages to get to the point. Just not my cup of tea.
This book started off intresting but turned dull towards the middle. I had a hard time finishing it and it wasn't worth my time.