This book starts with a bang — dropping you into the middle of the action without any information and then leaving you the balance of the book to put the facts together. Kind of like waiting for the other shoe to drop. Not entirely a pleasant feeling, but a compelling device.
From the very beginning, most of the characters are in untenable positions, with their lives spinning ever more deeply out of control. This is not the story of a dysfunctional family, but of a family unable to function at all, as father, and later son, face a crippling mental illness. For me, it was difficult because at times I expected some of the characters to make better decisions; but this would have meant making them based on hard facts rather than heart. Obviously, this was not a light read, though there were some lighter moments; Haslett’s writing is lyrical and elegant, and his character’s fierce love of music is conveyed with loving detail. This book was painful at times to read, but it was, nonetheless, a deeply moving story.