by Meir Shalev
I didn\’t realize this when I first picked it up (at the Book Thing), but it\’s a love story. Two love stories actually- past and present which have an almost too tidy connection, but also confused me at first keeping straight who was who. Doesn\’t help that the narrator sometimes addresses his mother in second person, other times referring to her in third. Not just in the same chapter or paragraph, but often in the same sentence. This is also a war story, and pigeons have a key role, because several of the main characters work in pigeon lofts. Two of them start as young people, boy and girl in different cities, sending love notes to each other via the birds (even though they\’re only supposed to carry official messages). I did like the parts about the pigeons and how they are kept, the symbolism quite strong as a lot of this story is also about home. What makes a home, what holds you there, what draws you back when you\’ve been away. And a large part is also about one character (present day) having an old house remodeled to suit his tastes exactly. Some parts were interesting and others bored me a lot and then a key event occurs which seemed so implausible (plus the pigeons start talking to people- and this is not a talking animal story- maybe they were delusional?) that I really had difficulty finishing the book at all. Well, it certainly was a romantic idea, but kind of ridiculous too. I did not like the ending. Characters did things that seemed really unlike them, made no sense, and even angered me. This one\’s not staying in my collection.
Rating: 2/5 311 pages, 2007
Sounds like a mess of a plot that was made worse by poor execution.
Yeah, I really wish the focus had been more of one thing and a lot less of the other.