“A very confusing novel that maybe should have been a collection of short stories. The desk that seems in the first chapter to be the connecting thread of the various characters, locales and sub-plots, disappears halfway through, leaving this reader to wonder why they are all in the same story. It does, finally reappear, after I have long since given up on it. There are some long back stories; the one about the English poet is quite moving; the one about the American at Cambridge having an affair with a lunatic less so. Hitler's and Pinochet's goons, disappeared political prisoners, Israeli politics, the lingering impact of Shoah, questions of ownership and loss - all are touched on but are explored inadequately, or perhaps more accurately, disjointedly.
I put it down several times, intending to just quit, but kept coming back, hoping to find the thread. Never happened - until my fifth or 6th try. By them I was skimming whole pages as I flew towards the resolution.
I will say the author's command of language in impressive, and her imagining of the inner lives of a disparate group of characters even more so, but her editor (if she had one) was inept. This book is a rambling mess.”