Cal is a great protagonist, and it felt like a privilege to be there, hearing him unravel the story of his and his family's past. It's as though the telling of his story is what allows Cal to make sense of the whole thing himself.
One of my favorite passages:
Emotions, in my experience, aren't covered by single words. I don't believe in "sadness," "joy," or "regret." Maybe the best proof that the language is patriarchal is that it oversimplifies feeling. I'd like to have at my disposal complicated hybrid emotions, Germanic train-car constructions like, say, "the happiness that attends disaster." Or: "the disappointment of sleeping with one's fantasy." I'd like to show how "intimations of mortality brought on by aging family members" connects with "the hatred of mirrors that begins in middle age." I'd like to have a word for "the sadness inspired by failing restaurants" as well as for "the excitement of getting a room with a minibar."I also liked that the end of the novel is not perfectly resolved; everything isn't packaged in a perfect bow and made to feel nicey-nice. There is resolution, and a satisfying ending, but not at the expense of the integrity of the narrative.
Next up on my reading list? Possibly Lord of the Flies, which I've never read. It's been sitting on my shelf unopened for some time. Any other suggestions for me? What do I absolutely have to read this year?