This book is Dense. The capitalization there is deliberate. When I say this book is dense, think Tolkien or maybe more appropriately, Victor Hugo. While not quite as self-indulgent as either of those authors, his narrative is still just as complex as these two other authors. In the first 105 pages (all that I made it through) we meet the following:
- Two generations (one in the 13th century, one in the 19th century) of de Cygne nobles
- Two generations (again, one in the 13th century, one in the 19th) of Jewish money lenders
- A family that believes in the ideals of the Revolution (and has a grudge on above noble)
- A bourgeois family (including the husband, his ex-mistress, his wife, and three kids)
- A working poor family (including 2 parents, 2 sons and a daughter)
Have I mentioned that this is only the first 10% of the book?
Even when we’re in the 19th century for the bulk of the narrative, we’re still moving around in time – there can be years between chapters. It is also my understanding by the end of the book we work our way up into the 20th century. Have I mentioned that any one given chapter can focus on multiple families? No?
If I took a picture right now you could see my brain leaking out of my ears.
This is not a light read. This is you have to go slow and keep track of a lot of shit. A outline or a flow chart might not be a bad plan. I read for fun. This isn’t a fun. It’s almost work. It didn’t make me want to find the time to keep reading. And since I am reading for fun, that makes a book a pass.
Is this a bad book? No. I’d even handily agree that it’s better written than a lot of the books I have finished. There’s without question an audience for this book. I’m just not it.