5 / 5 STARS
One of the best books I’ve read this year, EINTY had me hooked from the very beginning and kept me absorbed with the same (if not increasing) level of interest and involvement throughout. Being a debut novel, this is an accomplishment. As The Guardian put it very well, “By the third of the 12 chapters, it is apparent that there is much here that might impress Pulitzer and Man Booker judges as much as the panellists of an online bookseller”. The book topped Amazon’s 2014 list of top 100 best sellers of the year.
The story of a mixed race family that snaps, cracks and splinters when Lydia, the apple of their eye daughter, is found dead. The narrative runs back and forth in time, lending perspective and background to how the family has shaped into its present form over the years. What expectations, insecurities, failures and disappointments have culminated into this one dreadful and tragic event and the desperate attempt they make to explore and question everything and anything that may have led to it.
All of the 6 main characters are very well developed. Their perspectives, flaws and feelings, even the ones they don’t express, come through so clearly, it is not difficult to empathize with each one and to understand their motivations and impulses. The desperation of both parents in trying to mold their unfulfilled ambitions into one child is unsettling. Hannah, the youngest member of the family was the most endearing character for me, I wished many times to be able to re-assure her.
In the end, the book is about so many things. About love, ambition, identity, loss, fear, security and individuality.