I’m not an emotional reader. Sure, sometimes I react strongly to what I read, but almost always these are internal reactions. I very rarely cry or laugh out loud when I read. My college roommate used to call me a cyborg, because we’d read the same book and by the end she would be a blubbering mess and I’d say, “wasn’t that sad?” Eyes always dry. (Movies, TV shows and commercials are an entirely different story – I go totally fetal at the most ridiculous things.)
Strange As This Weather Has Been isn’t one of those books. I didn’t weep openly, but I feel the weight of this book heavy on my chest. A sadness that followed me through the book – sadness and fear and guilt and a sense of foreboding. Ah, this book…!
It ended about as I expected, which was both satisfying and horrifying. I dragged my feet through the ending. I closed the book and put it down and walked away and came back later. When I could stand to face it (or thought I could). And now I’ve finished it, I’ve put it aside, but I feel haunted. It lingers. “It” – that sense of this book.
“It.” I don’t know.
Beautiful writing, as expected from Ann Pancake, but I did have one gripe with that. The novel’s strength comes from its deeply internal story structure, which is effective and moving (clearly!), but it was also a bit alienating. In part because I’m an outsider to this culture, this place, but also because I wasn’t able to “see” as much of their world as I would have liked. I wanted an outsider character to describe it in words I understood, relate it to things I knew. As it stands, the setting for me was a bit shadowy and hard to latch on to – disappointing, considering what a huge role place played in the narrative and for most of the characters.
But, still. Enjoyed the book. Not a pick-me-up in any sense, but…political fiction at its finest.