I didn’t expect to like this book. To begin with, I knew nothing about the 1999 WTO protest in Seattle around which the novel centers. (Literally, nothing. As in, I can’t believe I was alive when this happened, because I have never heard of it ever in my life.) Then came an unflattering-bordering-on-mean review from NPR, and I was regretting placing my library hold. However, I decided to give debut author Sunil Yapa a grudging 50 pages to impress me. I promised myself I could stop after those 50 pages if I wasn’t sold.
Then I finished it in two days.
You can trust NPR as an objective news source, but when it comes to taste in books and movies, those granola-chomping hippies don’t know what they’re freaking talking about. Because this book is GREAT. The only reason it might not be on every single Best of 2016 list is because it was published in the second week of January, and book critics aren’t famous for their long memories.
The prose is gorgeous. Rhythmic, lush, mesmerizing. Yapa’s style helps to create meaning instead of fighting against it—something I’ve seen too rarely lately in my literary fiction reading. And the wide-ranging cast of characters—each fully realized, despite their number. Suspenseful—gut-wrenching—redemptive—I realize I’m just blurting single words now.
Just read it, please. See if you can stop after 50 pages.