I wasted too much money on this book. The premise was interesting and had potential but nothing really happened. There was no resolution, no explanation, just a series of bizarre events. And bad dialogue to the mix. Not worth the money
Perfectly unsettling pandemic read
By pandemic reader
This book is unsettling and beautiful. It is frightening yet reassuring. If you like the wry observations about modern life in Don DeLillo’s _White Noise_ or the slow fade out at the end of the world in Nevil Shute’s _On the Beach_, you will like this book.
Incomplete, lacking cohesion, often repulsive and highly disappointing.
The cathartic ramblings of a thoroughly miserable, paranoid individual, riddled with passively horny filth. The only reason I gave it two stars instead of one is because the story was engaging, until it was not, and the writing was poetically descriptive and grotesquely captivating. But beyond the frilly magnificence of the author’s bravado, it was just depressing indulgence. I’m mad at myself for wasting hours of my life on this anticlimactic mess. Reading into the highly personal overtones and clearly spiteful intention, it makes sense why the author was content with a half finished story; He made his miserable point, why continue pretending there’s a purpose in the story behind it? The only reason people are drooling over this gussied-up manifesto is because it touches on racism and climate change in an ultimately superficial and sardonically apathetic fashion. You can tell it was written by a man, in every sentence, and I mean that in the most insulting way possible. Disappointed isn’t the right word for what I am. Save yourself the time and money.
Couldn’t put it down.
Loved this slow-burning, anxiety-filled ride.
By Odd Fan
I purchased this book based on a couple different top ten book lists. I finished the book only as a challenge to myself. This was SO over written and overrated, I can’t understand how it made any top ten list. The Stand, by Stephen King, is also an end of the world novel, and it flows well. This book sadly, had entire chapters that were unnecessary such as chapter 3 where the reader has to slog through an entire grocery shopping trip, item by item. Seriously?? How did this add value to the novel? The sexual focus and descriptions were simply creepy, not at all provocative or appealing. It took away from the experience of the book rather than adding anything valuable. I understood from the reviews, this book focused on racial and class differences, but digging those themes out from under the ramblings was almost a chore. “Are you kidding?” kept popping into my mind as I read complete paragraphs (and chapters) that seemed superfluous. The racist attitudes of the couple renting the home were obvious from the beginning, although reviews said it came out as the couple and homeowners were forced together. For example, in Chapter 6, Amanda spreads a blanket out on the beach “...she’d found on the Internet, block printed by illiterate Indian villagers.” This was long before the homeowners arrived. Other examples also raise their ugly heads.
Maybe this rambling, unusual sexual focus is a particular style for this author, but I’ll be avoiding his books in the future.
I appreciated the writing even though it was frustratingly detailed at times. The book ends totally abruptly just as the plot is beginning to go somewhere with absolutely no final conclusion or resolution. The book seems half-finished which is a disappointment because the author had the right ingredients for a compelling story but just didn’t pull it together in the end.
Where’s the rest?
I am befuddled, maybe that was the idea. Choppy writing, ambling descriptors, random dialogue. Good thing it read fast. I’d toss this in the campfire but it would ruin my iPad.
Moody, Good Writing
It’s been a minute since I’ve had a book that I literally couldn’t put down. I finished this book in a day after getting it on the day of publication. I skimmed the blurb at Barnes & Noble and picked it up. Only when I got home did I realize it was nominated for the National Book Award in fiction. So I started it and I couldn’t stop.
I recommend not knowing anything about the plot of this book. It’s about a family that leaves Brooklyn for a week vacation at an AirBNB in the Hamptons. That’s all you need to know. Buckle up, enjoy the trip.
The writing in this book is fantastic and strange. The author passes seamlessly to the minds of each character and back again, but also to the future, the past, other parts of the country. The narrator is semi-omniscient. As a reader we always know more than the characters, but we never know everything that’s going. It’s a tricky balance that the writer does well to create suspense where we, as readers, want to know more, yet we want to yell at the characters what we already know. At times the writing is stultifying with endless lists, short sentences, detached periods of observation. This book could easily go off the rails, but it has a restraint that I really admired. The balance of slowly revealing the plot and developing the making characters were well done.
I have seen some point this out as a commentary on race, technology, and modern life. I didn’t have a strong reaction to these elements. I thought they contributed to the piece but I didn’t find a strong opinion either way about society. The author used these elements to create tension by subverting expectations, but I didn’t find a strong message either way.
This is a genre-defying book. I went in with no expectations and that helped. Readers believing this is a thriller be disappointed (it’s not a thriller.) Those who believe it’s a mystery could be disappointed (we never get a neat resolution.) Some who want this to be science fiction, or speculative fiction, or horror, will not get their tastes satiated by this book. But if you have an open mind, want a new story, during a global pandemic, this book is fun, a bit of a slow burn, that you won’t be able to stop thinking about when you’re done. ★★★★★ • Hardcover • Fiction • Published by Ecco books on October 6, 2020. ◾︎
Nothing good about this one. Ending seems like the author gave up.
Kinda lame tbh
Ok, so it seemed like Harold Lauder wrote most of this. A slow burn to nowhere, written by an English major. Not bad, but really it went nowhere. A few hundred pages of dialogue, people drinking, eating and complaining about not having WiFi. Waste of time and money.