My rating: 4 of 5 stars
First: this is more a 4.5 but it leans more towards a 4. Here’s why: I have a problem of sorts when it comes to creative, juxtaposing, non-linear fiction confuses me and as a result, I simply can’t settle down, relax, and release the anxiety that comes with reading a book that is wonderfully written but just oddly narrated.
Enter widower with twin sons and Crow. Like the bird, yes. This larger-than-life, massively ugly, often reviled, repugnant scavenger bird who is a central (imaginary?) character that struts emboldened in the midst of this personal drama. But this is no cruel spirit animal of ill-luck. Crow here takes on the role of caretaker So I’m wondering what the hell is going on. And I wonder a bit more as the narrative divides itself under three voices: the boys, dad and Crow himself and then slowly and then again very quickly grows into a thing of immense loveliness. Immense strength and fragility all at once.
The inability to hold this book in my hands as a thing of heart-pounding beauty is entirely my stuntedness, without which, this an easy 5. For its fierce tenderness. For its wild honesty. For its embarrassing frankness which we have all attempted to distance ourselves from, the way we would a relative at a funeral. Max Porter doesn’t sensationalise grief nor does he particularly make a circus of losing a loved one; a mother, a wife. This is heavy loss we are speaking of.
I leave this book with a lesson: refuse a little less the difficult things which almost always have something brilliant to show you.