What to say about this book? The jacket copy describes it as the story of Anna, who's trying to escape a marriage to a right-wing political wannabe who takes stalking to insane levels. So from the get-go, it sounds like something in the vein of Gone Girl.
And it is, sort of. But the jacket copy is misleading. There's a whole lot more going on here. For example--and this is not a spoiler, it happens right away--Anna and her icky husband Ned have a baby, and when the baby is born, Anna starts hearing voices. But not of the conspiracy theory type, instead more of picked-up thoughts that are racing through the universe. When the baby (Lena) learns to talk, the voices go away.
That might seem like a red herring in a story of a man stalking his would-be ex-wife. But no, it's actually a key to the rest of the book. The voices become important in other ways. And they lead to larger discussions--the role of humans in nature, in the world, what is God, what is reality, what is language and how does it evolve (or devolve). That's pretty heady stuff, and if you're expecting a straight-up thriller, well...this may not work for you.
"It occurred to me, reading about the transmigration of souls, that my early assumption of some kind of nonhuman power or supernatural omniscience had been impressively unfounded. It might have been just a person's thoughts that had got loose, the memories or knowledge base of, say, some overeducated, possibly unhinged individual whose stream of consciousness flowed along carrying the debris of a lifetime. Could be that Lena caught the ruminations of a scientist or scholar."
In fact, I'm still not 100% sure it worked for me. I gave it 4 stars on Goodreads, because there was a lot I liked about it, I was never once tempted to stop reading it, and I kept thinking and thinking about it after I finished it. Yet I'm not positive I found the ending satisfying; it all wraps up a bit quickly. That may be because I went in expecting something entirely different than what I actually got. It's entirely possible that I would need to read it again, with a better sense of what I'm getting into, to decide what I really think.