My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The major thing that had me stuck to this book was the cipher that is Barry Cohen. His guilelessness while also being a human capable of great harm and shallowness is perplexing but also somehow creates a gravity that is tough to escape. I found myself drawn to him in ways that the other characters in the book are.
But, there’s repulsion too that only serves to create a tension I had to explore. Ultimately, the most successful part of this book his Barry’s estranged wife, Seema. Her character shines through as touchingly human and endearingly conflicted. Much has been written about her dealing with the Cohen’s autistic three-year-old son, Shiva. I don’t have enough experience to know if it’s realistic or not. It is affecting and her struggles feel genuine. I’m not as keen to search for authenticity as I am to search for duality and paradox in the human condition and Seema is nothing if not torn.
For all the write-ups about this being a book about Trump’s America, I found it to be more a book about how fragile and unknown the human heart can be.