It’s a nice little book. If you think that you have guessed what’s really going on part of the way through, then you’re probably right. It’s not exactly zigging when one expects it to zag. It’s a crooked plotline, but oddly familiar, well-worn, comfortable. Where else is it really going to go?
No, i’m not spelling the ending out explicitly just in case someone stumbles on this post who wasn’t able to see what was telegraphed in from the beginning.
It was a disappointment to finish it, not in any way because the end was poorly executed, as like many other readers, i enjoyed being immersed in this peculiar world. Although it would have been nice to have more of a feel for the interaction of the Yiddish culture with the Tlingit, it wasn’t really about that anyway. There’s a slight urge to taste some of the many foods described, but as a Louisianan, i know that i’d regret it… too much vinegar and cabbage.
It makes me uncomfortable to guess at what the book says about Jewish identity, because i’m not Jewish and don’t have too much depth in Jewish history, despite my fixation with certain authors. However, it doesn’t seem especially pro-Zionist, as it’s more concerned both with smaller traditions and living in the moment rather than grand movements.
Again, i haven’t had this much fun with one-line similes and pithy sarcasm in awhile in contemporary, mainstream fiction. It didn’t leave me breathless, shaken, starstruck, but i feel a little lost without Landsman’s Sitka to immerse myself in.
One minor complaint. Did it really have to have “Pulitzer Prize Winning Author” announced on the spine? The author’s name being larger than the title of the book made me wince a little, but putting the author’s previous accolades on the spine… tacky.