This is an incredibly awkward book to review. There are no pretensions about that fact. This book is simply difficult for me to review.
The language is beautiful and it's well written, haunting even, but there's something about the story that makes it difficult to love. I originally gave it five stars but I dialled it back to four after thinking a little more about how the book has stayed with me. I like it a lot and think it is a book that should be read by all readers but I don't love it like I love some books. I don't love it like 1984
, Brave New World
, The Great Gatsby
, The Chronicles of Narnia
or Lord of the Rings
It is lines like "I am haunted by humans," and
"I have loved the words and I have hated the words and I hope I have made them right."
which have remained with me. Lines so poetic and beautiful captivate me even when the material is a little disheartening. I also like the fact that Death narrates the book, I like that kind of metaphysical idea, particularly for a book about WW2.
What this story did effectively is remind me of the horror of war. It also served to convey how as humans we are all linked. It was an emotionally moving book and because of that I will remember it as a novel that contained raw impact.
And yes I, a traveller of books (figuratively speaking) and reader of them (part-time), suggest you read this. You may love it, you may hate it but I think you'll find it is written generally pretty poetically with an elegant sparsity. This is not a meagre children's novel, it is a potential classic for all.