After I finished this book I had to go on-line and read reviews and comments on this book to make sure I understood the ending. I did. This book is very unconventional. It starts out with Linda and Thomas meeting at a writers convention when they are in their 50s. The reader discovers Linda and Thomas have a passionate history. Very little of the history is revealed. What is revealed is the obvious attraction and deep love these two people feel for each other. The next section takes you back 26 years to the last time they met in Africa. Shreve spent some time in Africa and did some work there. You can tell the familiarity of the landscape and culture from the writing. It seems fate has brought Linda and Thomas together after almost 10 years apart. I did find it too much of coincidence that you would run into someone you once loved in highschool in the middle of Africa. Shreve did a good job making it believable. The final section of the book is really the beginning of the love story when Thomas and Linda are seniors in highschool. The rest of the mystery is revealed in this section; From Lindas life with her aunt and how she ended up there to the tragic accident that initiated their first separation. And then, the surprise ending. I had to read it 3 times to make sure I understood it. I appreciate Shreves talent as a writer even more after reading this book, reinforcing her place on my favorite author list.
I consider myself a pretty bright person - at least not stupid, but I did NOT understand the ending of the book. If what it was implying is true, then the rest of the book makes absolutely no sense to me AT ALL. So, do I believe 1 page or the previous 312 pages? ARGGGHHHH!
I also struggled with this book. The prose irritated me and her overuse of italics (I mean really, if someone says something, use quotes!).
Sigh... I dunno. I wanted to like this book, but I just didn't overall. Some of it was really good, but by and large, I found it irritating me. :( I think it had to do with the cross-over of the character of Thomas from Weight of Water... I didn't like him in that book and didn't like him here either.
Worth a read if you are smarter than me - and if someone reads this that understand the ending, enlighten me!
This is my favorite Shreve book. There was a lot of back and forth and at times hard to follow, but a great story. I am in such awe of this author. I could not put this down. DO NOT be tempted to read the ending ahead of time. The ending will blow your mind as others have said, but I enjoyed the ending which, to me, totally set this author apart from the others. She went where no one else would dare to. I read this quite a few years ago and this was one of those books that just stayed with me. This is the #1 Shreve book with Eden Close a very close second.
I've read a number of Anita Shreve's novels, and this one is quite different. That's not to say that it's not good... It definitely is a wonderful story and an interesting read, it's just different from her other books.
This one starts off slowly. I almost gave up after the first few chapters, but because I'm an Anita Shreve fan I stuck with it, and it got much better. I'm glad I stayed with it.
Give it a try. It's unconventional, but I think it's worthwhile!
What an amazing book. The ending will leave you wanting to reread the book again! This is my first by this author and I definitely will read more of her novels.