The story and themes are interesting but the execution is boring and puerile. It reads like a fiction workshop exercise. No one just "says" or "does" anything. They snort, they groan, they grin, they moan. The main characters are insufferable. The plot depends heavily on uninteresting coincidences. The only likable characters are minor and far too enigmatic to really get a grip on. The dialogue is cloying and the narrative history is just broadly shoveled at the reader.
If he is a mastermind, he must have been having a very bad day.
I know this book is the 2006 National Book Award winner, but it didn't do a thing for me. I thought it could have been about 100 pages shorter. I didn't care about any of the characters and thought it was rather boring. I struggled to finish it and won't be looking for any more by this author.
I was deeply involved with this novel starting on the very first page. Although many of the scientific principles are deep, the insight on the workings of the human brain are interesting, and the way they tie into the emotional structure of the story is seamless. Highly enjoyable, highly readable.
This book is not for the meek. Very "pay attention" reading. Interesting story though once you figure out what is up. I was not satified with the ending. ..but my dad loved it. It's the perfect book for someone who likes to read and LEARN something...in this case, the human brain...and how it recovers from trauma.