I think this is a book that will resonate strongly with some and barely be worth the time of others. For me, it was perfectly okay. I never found myself particularly invested in the characters and I found the pacing to be much too slow to my liking, but I do understand that the pacing was setting up the atmosphere. The atmosphere in this book is perfect. I mean, perfect.
I don't see how Frazier could have made that aspect of the novel any better.
He uses fragments and bits and pieces of sounds and smells to engage the reader, but I'm just not that kind of reader. I prefer long, drawn out sentences with a short, simple one thrown in here or there. The fragments, while cementing the atmosphere, became a bit taxing for me as a reader. Other readers, however, may find it brilliant,and there were times when I thought it was pretty brilliant too, just not for me.
My biggest problem was the allusions to events that had occurred but the reader was never told about. For example, we know that Bud did some sort of sexual abuse to the children
. It's hinted at multiple times, but we never find out what exactly happened. Normally this wouldn't bother me, but considering a lot of this book revolved around Bud's POV, wouldn't he have thought about it? He did have flashbacks about his murder of Lily, so why wouldn't he have flashbacks of his sexual abuse/rape of the children?
I think the ending is another thing that is going to be a hit or miss, depending on the reader. For me, it was a hit. Really! I love that Frazier left some questions unanswered and that we didn't get complete closure -- just enough to feel satisfied. Other readers, however, might find that annoying and want one-hundred percent closure. If you're a reader like that, you may want to avoid this book.
I would recommend this book to anyone who particularly enjoys literary novels, unreliable narrators, dark events and characters and atmospheric books.