Plot: Gaal's whip-smart plot compels from the first page. The choice to give the protagonist a bipolar diagnosis seems to be handled with respect and the effort is there to avoid it being merely a plot device; however, some of the discussions e.g. around treatment and medication, may read as less sensitive or delicately handled than the rest of the plot.
Prose: Gaal's prose is as distinct and sharp as the plot. At times hilarious and other times serious, it matches the pace of the novel beat for beat.
Originality: Despite being a fun and highly engaging journey, the story plays directly into many conventions of the genre.
Character/Execution: There's a wild cast of characters found throughout this novel. As a protagonist, Noah is sometimes the least compelling person on the page; however, his experiences are so riveting, it's easy to over look. Additionally, the relationships between him and his band of misfits is more than entertaining enough to make up for any potential weaknesses in character development.
Date Submitted: August 31, 2020
This saga spans generations, cultures, and dimensions, ultimately paying off with a tightly connected finale. Gaal successfully balances the down-to-earth and the fantastical with stunning imagery and cleverly constructed parallels—or “synchronicities,” as Noah calls them; Hadassah’s descendant, Bernard, coincidentally works for Duschene, giving the families a chance for repentance.
Skillful, memorable prose (“they shared the same blue eyes—cobalt, Co, atomic number twenty-seven—and trademark red hair—copper, Cu, twenty-nine”) assures readers they’re in good hands. And it’s heartwarming to watch Noah and Sally rectify their strained relationship by repairing their family’s past. This multigenerational epic of family strife and healing will charm readers.
Takeaway: The magical realism of this multigenerational epic will transport readers.
Great for fans of: Chloe Benjamin’s The Immortalists, Ellen Galford’s The Dyke and the Dybbuk, Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
Design and typography: A-
Marketing copy: B+