If I’d pick up this book at the right time (less busy), I might have finished in a day, or three, which is rare for me. It caught me in that way books sometimes do when you can’t stop thinking about them, can’t wait to pick them up again. I started the book the last morning we spent in Port Townsend over a month ago. I remember opening the book while we waited for our breakfasts to arrive during what turned out to be a long wait.” Oh, oh,” I kept interrupting Chris’s Harper’s article, “listen to this sentence.” The novel begin with these three sentences:
May in Ayemenem is a hot, brooding month. The days are long and humid. The river shrinks and black crows gorge on bright mangoes in still, dustgreen trees.
In these sentences, Roy begins setting the reader up for a book in which everything is alive, ever object, every living thing, every thought, every feeling. The story will make you cry, perhaps it will make you sob achingly as I did as I finished the book this morning. The characters are so real, so human, sometimes grotesquely, that I suppose you could read this book and miss the at times biting environmental and social criticisms the emerge in a well-aimed narrative insight or a suggestive motif. Those messages existed, but did not overshadow the story of Ammu and her twins, their loves and their heartaches, their roles in their tragic human play.