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This book sucked!!!! Like throw it out the window sucked!!! Like I wish I had a working wood burning fireplace so I could use its pages as kindling sucked!!

Okay, so I picked up ATOG after reading about Russell here. I just finished last night. And I certainly did not hate it, contrary to my spoiler tagged exclamations above. But rarely have I read a book that gets me as emotionally wrapped up as this one. I literally felt sucker punched, a very similar feeling to the reveal in "Braveheart" of the identity of the King's Champion. Literally,

every character I learned to care for, with the exception of Claudette, gets almost randomly killed off

. The randomness of the violence, the dread that came with each turn of the page--"who next?"--, the sprawling narrative (ooh first time I get to use that cliche!), certainly kept me turning the pages. I wish, though, that at least

someone I liked, or at the very least the Soncini kids

made it through.

If there's any real criticism, other than feeling sucker punched, its that too much of the story happens in between the chapters--and Russell would only obliquely refer to events that played key roles in the storyline, such as referring to a gravesite, or suddenly a character who was a pariah in one scene is now a rebel scout in another. I think this would have been a stronger novel if the character list had been pared down significantly. But on the whole, an engrossing, if enraging, work.

Anyone else read this?

Edited by Buckeye Jones
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This is what got my goat the most:

How did you decide on which characters in A THREAD OF GRACE lived and which died?

So many survivors tell us it was blind, dumb luck, not heroism or decision that got them through the war. I wanted that element of chance in the story, so I had my son flip a coin. Heads, the character lived. Tails, the character died. How and why and when

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YES! She told that story at her reading here in Seattle, and I laughed out loud. But it's such a great idea, because it gives the writer a great challenge, and it keeps the story from being crafted to please or merely confound the reader.

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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