3.5 stars. Understated yet enjoyable book with very real characters, but no strong plot.
I liked the way this book was written. I don’t remember the author going into much detail describing the characters, but I found it very easy to imagine these characters as real people to the point where halfway through the book, I re-realized that this book was fiction. Ohlin creates these characters by describing what happens to them and it’s these collective experiences that eventually comprise a complete person.
There wasn’t really a strong plot in my opinion. Unlike murder mysteries or other fiction novels, I couldn’t identify a solid end that all these events were leading up to, which makes sense because the book was only about a portion of the characters’ lives. Regardless, I was interested (but not edge-of-my-seat captivated) throughout.
I think where the book succeeds the most is in its subtlety and believability. I didn’t really like the end because it didn’t conclude this capsule of time nor leave the reader with anything to think about or wonder. This is probably where the plot’s weakness shows the most, being unable to sustain intrigue beyond the end of the novel.