by Frederik Pohl

This book review might be a little different than many of the others that I have done. The reason for this is that I didn’t really care for this story. And I find that it’s difficult to write about something that I didn’t like.  And I’m noticing that many of the stories that I am currently reading fall into this category. But I will carry on and do my best.

So the best way for me to describe this book is a therapy session. The main character, Robinette Stetley Broadhead, is in therapy throughout the book. He recounts his tale in these sessions and that is how the story moves along. Interspersing the present with the past is the device used to tell the narrative.  And while this format could be a good way to tell a story, I found that it focused so much on the session that it didn’t feel like we were in the story he was telling. I felt more like I was listening to a guy talk about his life. While interesting at times, it did not hold my attention.

I found that this was really a character study. We see a man who has gained and lost so much in his life. The things he does to distract himself from his pain. And at times this was enough to keep me engaged in the story. There was a mix of exploration and discovery and this was also appreciated. I think it didn’t focus on these moments enough for my tastes.

I think that one of the most difficult moments in the book for me was his relationship with Gelle-Klara Moynlin. It’s pretty complicated relationship and it seems to be going in one direction and then all of a sudden he beats the crap out of her. And near the end of the book they sort of reconcile. It really gets explained away that he could act so violently toward her. It was a real turnoff. There were things that I didn’t care for and I could get past, this was not one of those moments that I could get through. While I did not care for this story, you may.