My reviewrating: 2 of 5 stars
This book feels well-written. By that I mean, a torrent of words, landscapes and emotions but... but... it feels that way, which to me says it ain't necessarily so. For me, a well-written book is one into which I can escape without noticing the craft of writing. This book doesn't quite do that.
The endless commentary on the "art" of building dams and flooding villages, how disruptive that is to nature and to people, could have been cut in half. Jean's obsession with botany at times reads like a lecture, not a plot point. And the very studied nature of the dialog and flashbacks were too studied.
It took me a long time to read this because I really wanted to like it more than I did (I'd taken a long time to get into Durrell's The Alexandria Quartet, too, and thought this might be another experience like that was). Unfortunately, every time I got interested, like when Aswan Dam finally starts flooding the valley - or when Jean starts going back to school - or the fate of Ramses' head, the book slowed down and I lost interest again.
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