There are many things I liked about this book. I enjoyed the writing. I liked how the train to Trieste didn’t really go to Trieste. I enjoyed the picturesque images of Romania, which didn’t seem as bleak even during hard communist times. I was absorbed into those images of the cool mountains and the linden-smelling Bucharest streets. I enjoyed all the symbolism of the ancestry stories braided into the main story. I could relate to a lot of things, from the communist fear to the immigrant loss.
The main character, although profound and complex, lacked emotion, however. That’s what I thought. She didn’t seem to feel anything. Tragic things happen all around her, and while she acts crazy at times and is tormented by nightmares, all is reported in a sort of detached, almost journalistic style. I could not feel close to her. She is detached from everything and everyone. Another aspect of the book that I was not thrilled with was the monotonous rhythm of the writing. It is interesting in the beginning, but later in the book it feels obsessive and a little tiring.
I thought it was a captivating read, one that could have easily become too boring and too dark and yet it didn’t–it stayed fresh and quite energetic to the end, which I found rather perfect. It is a beautiful and very honest book and in the end that is all that matters.