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Wow, this is the fourteenth book I've read this year, and seven of them have been this month alone. (Of course that means I've hardly read any fic or manga this month; it's definitely a trade-off.) With a whole month to go before the end of the year and three books for sure in the queue (one already a quarter of the way through), maybe I should revise my goal from fifteen to twenty.

I picked this book up because of The Decemberists' Song for Myla Goldberg. I'd never heard of her before that, but I was curious and wikipediad her and saw the song was in part about Bee Season, and the book sounded interesting.

It turned out to be absolutely amazing. There is not a single thing I didn't love about it. I loved the writing, the storylines, the utter dysfunctionality of the characters (always a favorite of mine). I've seen some complaints in other reviews about the ending, but I thought it was perfect. It ends at exactly the right place. (But then I myself am fond of ending without a denouement, so.)

I'm impressed with how many threads she managed to weave together. The search for something spiritual they all share, the hints of Miriam's mental imbalance in Aaron and Eliza, the way both parents are looking to their children to fulfill their dreams. And everything begins and ends with the spelling bee.

I really liked the way it was told, too. I didn't find the timeline at all confusing, despite everything being present tense; the events of each section were easy enough to place in the past or present. I haven't read many (any?) modern novels that use an omniscient POV like this, and before reading this, I would have said I'd hate it, but it really works. The POV slips easily between characters without every being confusing and I didn't feel (like I often do with fanfic that has multiple POVs) that it robbed it of any tension or mystery.

I also love that it was set in the '80s, of course. :)

[ profile] mikotokun, you might like this. It deals with kabbalah and Jewish mysticism.


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