A novel about mental illness, longing, guilt, and identity (theft, choice, fate, and confusion–you name it, it’s here), this book is my favorite kind–a suspenseful plot that doesn’t sacrifice any of the literary pleasures. It offers precise, original language; compelling, complex characters; a perfect match between theme and situation; and credible outcomes for every single story thread. For writers looking at the technical aspects of a novel or fans of literary thrillers and mysteries looking for a little something special in form, it showcases a notably clever structure.  Read it once for pleasure, and a second time to figure out how Chaon pulled it off. (That’s pronounced “Shawn” by the way.)

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