14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Brilliantly structured story that slowly reveals its truth,
This review is from: The Rise & Fall of Great Powers: A Novel (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Tom Rachman, whose previous novel featured an innovative structure, has followed that path again. This novel, made up of three chronological strands of narrative, tells the story of Tooly - a girl who does not know who her parents are but is passed from guardian to guardian with no security and no roots. As an enchanting child she maintains her equilibrium through frightening and abrupt transitions; in her early 20s she uses the living-on-the-edge skills to make her own way in the US, and finally in her 30s she gets some answers. Nobody is what he or she seems in this book and everybody is hiding at least one major thing about himself. Rachman manages the revelations slowly, and we see their effect on Tooly and those around her from the outside.
If you want likeable people in your reading, forget this one. If you want a simple straightforward story, forget this one. But if you are willing to go on an intriguing ride with some fascinating people, read this. It's not nearly as good as his first book, and I hope others to come match that book in quality. But it's worth a read if you like a mystery about identity and self.