“Wait,” Celia says. “This is important. I want you to have something neither of us truly had. I want you to have a choice,”
This book is an enigma wrapped in a puzzle wrapped in mystery. What puts people off is the significant lack of plot coherency and it seems to be predominantly held out through the chapters which seem more to be vignettes.
But the plot takes its time. It slowly unfolds, and by the time I finished reading the book last night (4/12/2015) I felt heartsick and sad and squishy all in one. Very vivid, Morgenstern loves to describe food and clothes. Both are recalled vividly, and many times I wanted to take part in the delicious sounding Midnight Dinners! In all seriousness, though, imagine if you went to a restaurant and weren’t allowed to know who the chef was or what he was going to cook for you?! You’d be dicing with both death and your taste buds in equal measure.
The love triangle between Isobel, Marco and Celia was certainly interesting and is a well-trodden path for writers and filmmakers alike. Even though the story seemed somewhat scattered at first, the way it came together at the end was magical. That’s the thing about the magical realism genre. It gives it carte blanche to be that bit more otherworldly.
Now, a seemingly perfect book cannot be truly perfect. All books have flaws in their narrative. But in this instance, I thought that the book was perhaps about 40 pages too long. The narrative could have ended comfortably at the end scene between Marco, Celia and Bailey. Then you would leave the readers that bit of extra time to collect their dignity before choosing another book to read. However, this didn’t completely destroy my faith in the book. The narrative voice made me feel as if I were standing on the edge, watching the narrative unfold as an outsider.
“I made a wish on this tree years ago,” Marco says.
“What did you wish for?” Bailey asks.
Marco leans forward and whispers into Bailey’s ear. “I wished for her,” he says.
MY RATING: **** / *****