The inside flap refers to this book as transcendent. And I thought “right. So many authors think their work is transcendent. But I read a lot. And I rarely transcend.” Then, imagine my horror and delight when I open the book to the dedication page and see John Irving’s name there. The man is my hero. (Seriously. My kid should thank his lucky stars that I couldn’t talk his dad into that name Irving.) And I wondered if perhaps John Boyne wasn’t getting a bit ahead of himself.
Nope. Turns out this book lives up to the hype. And is so much more.
I don’t want to tell you much about it. I will say it’s an epic journey through the life of one amazing and ordinary Irishman. (That sounds trite and like a movie ad and doesn’t even cover any of the book’s true nature, but that’s all I’m giving you). We meet Cyril just before he’s born, and we’re mostly there til the end. His life. His love. His lies. He was so far from a perfect hero that it made him everything a hero should be – interesting and thought-provoking and real.
I loved every minute of this book. Enthralled from beginning to end. It will be my 2018 Book of the Year. Hands-down. I feel kinda bad for everything else I read this year – particularly for whatever I pick up next.
I’m a better person for having read this.