I finally finished it. At 550-ish pages, it's one of the longest books I've read in awhile and I'm relieved it's over. I have to say, as I rounded page 400, I just wanted it to be over. I did like the story, but none of the characters ever really grabbed my heart and held on.
The end was relatively satisfying, but I'm not sure if it's because it was over or because it was a truly good ending. The climax of the book is a twist around page 500 that definitely upped my emotional investment, and drives the book to it's conclusion, but even with that unexpected twist, I called the ending far before that point. I knew where each character was going to end up, I just didn't know how they were going to get there.
I do think Glass has a talent for creating interesting family dynamics and honestly, she spins melancholy better than any other contemporary writer I can think of. Her ability to capture the subtle emptiness of life (all I can think of is late afternoon sun coming through the window into a dark room) isn't quite as impressive in this book as it was in Three Junes, but it's definitely there.
I hate saying negative things about books, especially written by authors whose work I have loved in the past. I generally close a book with a heavy heart and a teary eye (cheese-ball extraordinaire, I know), sad that it's over. This time I felt a pang of "oh, thank god it's over." I'm not sure if it's because of the book itself or because I have a list of "to be reads" a million miles long and for the past 300 pages, all I could think was "I wonder if Little Children or The Gathering is better than this."
I'm off to start Little Children, so I will let you know in a few days....