I know I am going against trend by giving this 3 stars and even against my own first thoughts...When I began this book ages ago I swam through the beautiful prose and descriptions. It was like dark chocolate- so rich that I nibbled it in small doses. It has taken me ages to read it because of this and also because I am a slow reader who reads every word and at 771 pages there are many words. This became part of the problem. I got description over load. And by the time I reached Horst's apartment and some random woman was described to the nth degree I put the book down in frustration. The woman never featured again (why had I wasted my time investing in her) and by then magic of the descriptions had worn way too thin.
I did enjoy the story although I became frustrated at Theo's lack of get up and go. I did need to read until the very end but by then I was worn away and all the philosophising washed past me (it was midnight). I can't help thinking that this would have been stronger for me if it have been 300 pages shorter. I know this says more about me as a reader. I have less and less patience with ornament than I did twenty or thirty years ago. Having said that even in university I never enjoyed Dickens.
So I can say that the words are beautifully put together. Her descriptions and grab you by the throat with their beauty and insight but at this length it became too much like hard work and in the end I didn't care about Theo as much as I should have having spent so much time with him but I did adore Hobie. (originally posted on Goodreads)