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I had high hopes when I picked this up, enjoying the style of linked short stories, but that is where any pleasure ended. There is zero impetus in this book, nothing at stake, no momentum. He calls it a novel, but it feels like a limp, flabby memoir. I get the sense as I read it that he is deeply enjoying his own nostalgia, whilst barely a shred of it has any interest for me. He spends two pages explaining the sounds associated with his father's drinking, another entire page about the intricacies of lighting a barbeque - a barbeque. I fixed it for him - "My father soaked the charcoal in lighter fluid and set it on fire." I'm forcing myself to finish it, but the closer I get to the end, the more pity I have for the people who wind up in a conversation with this man. He strikes me as the sort who will hold forth, ad infinitum, with zero concern for those stuck listening to him. Which reminds me, there is no character depth or development in this book - everything feels stilted and disconnected as if he doesn't have real human connections and has no idea about how to convey them in language. Do yourself a favor and don't believe the hype ;)
I struggled through this book. There seems to be no point or storyline. If I wasn't in a book club, and was responsible for leading the discussion on Sag Harbor, I would have stopped reading. At our bookclub meeting the feelings was the same, this book was just not good. I wanted to like it, but just couldn't.