This is a very difficult book to review. It is a very daringly constructed novel that defies comparisons. When I started reading the book I was not immediately hooked. I usually have a 50 page rule where if a book hasn’t hooked me by then I move on to another book. I was so hypnotized by this book though I completely lost track of how far I had read into the story.
At first I thought the book was a cross between THE ENGLISH PATIENT and THE SHADOW OF THE WIND. The story centres on a diary written by a French poet in the Sahara desert in 1890 and the people who have come in contact with the book and the power the book seems to have over them. Having finished the book though that comparison is completely wrong. This is intriguingly original and an amazing and ambitious debut novel.
At its core this is a book about the desert, both physical and metaphysical. It is about the power and destructiveness of the desert and how it permeates through time and history. With the desert the beginning is the end is the beginning but on a second look it is completely different. Just like this story.
This book can be read in a number of different ways and if I had more time I would love to read it again because I am sure it would be a completely different book. This can be read as a heartbreaking love story, a tragic family saga or even a political thriller. For every question that is answered another takes its place and I am still trying determine what I think the ending means. I definitely think this is going to polarize readers but isn’t that what a good book should do?
Find my video review here