Book Swallows Reader. Wholly and completely. I have one hand reserved for the 5 books that have become part of my character. I realize now that I saved my pinkie for Eli Bell, the boy who swallows the universe.
There are books so transforming that you must carefully chew every word before swallowing. This is such a book. This is such a boy. The plight of Eli Bell and his shattered but unbreakable family is all consuming. There are terrible passages I could not bear to read, but I did. There are moments so blindingly beautiful that I read them again, slowly, to let them flow under my skin like tattoos. This story devoured me, not the other way 'round. The author's note at the end was so profound, it should be written in the air, with a flourish. Perfection.