This is Van Booy's first novel after two excellent short story collections. While it starts strong, a daring change in the plot (no spoilers here!) fails to carry the momentum and the books disintegrates about 3/4 of the way through. Van Booy is a rare writer who seems to have hope for humanity, despite the baggage they carry with them. Many of his characters (in this novel and the short stories) carry the death of a loved one from their childhood with them. He understands the lasting impact of grief, but never fails to show a positive future. This novel does the same and it shows his gift of language. At times his sentences are too saccharin, but at least he dares to aim for beauty in language -- and more often that not succeeding. I would encourage his short story collections first before turning to this novel. But still worth reading.