One Sentence Synopsis
A twisting tale that follows three seemingly very different people through seven generations and strange circumstances.
This quote is from an uncorrected copy and may change in the final version
“Perhaps there is a natural limit to remembering, beyond which it is simply impossible to bear the weight of all that remembrance.”
I want to thank Netgalley, St. Martin’s Press, and the author for providing me with a free e-ARC in exchange for an honest review!
Something I don’t talk about a lot on this blog is how much I love weird books. I should probably explain that when I say “weird”, I typically mean books that have an interesting or not-often-used format. Think mixed-media or books within books. So, when I came across Crossings on Netgalley and found that there was more than one way to read the story, I was instantly intrigued!
It’s the tale of two people who’s lives revolve around one another in the strangest of ways. We are told three separate tales about three different people that, in the end, are completely intertwined. The synopsis is necessarily vague as part of the charm of this book is discovering the connections as you read. And, as I mentioned, this book has a catch: it can be read in two different ways! It can be read in the traditional sense, from front to back. Or it can be read in what is called “the Baroness sequence”, where you jump around in the narrative.
Let me start by saying that I read this traditionally because that’s just who I am as a person. Also, I sometimes don’t trust my e-books when it comes to clicking on links that jump you around the book… it can mess with the formatting which always throws me off. Still, after I finished the book, I was instantly curious as to how the experience would differ if you read it using the Baroness sequence! Have you ever wished you could experience a book again as if for the first time? Well, in a sense, this is exactly what Crossings offers you!
Now, as to the actual story, I will say that it started off a tad slow for me. I don’t think the story truly took off until after I finished the first section, which revolves around Charles Baudelaire. The next section, however, completely sucked me in and I was fully engaged for the rest of the book. This is not a fast-paced story, but it’s so mind-boggling that you can help to devour the pages looking for answers! My favorite section has to be the last, though, where we follow the life of an extraordinary woman and start to see how all of it ties together. This is definitely a book that will keep your attention!
This is also a book that is very much a character study. You’re following these central characters through some pretty traumatic times (the second part is set during WWII, after all) and it’s so interesting to watch them navigate and process their lives. I thought the author did a spectacular job bringing these characters and, therefore, the story to life. They have so many layers, which I love, and I loved getting to live inside their heads.
Final thoughts: This is an strange little book and I absolutely love that about it! It takes a moment to get going, but, once it does, you can’t help but lose yourself in the narrative. The characters are multifaceted and the story will leave you believing in the unbelievable. If you like a mind-bending story within a story, you should give this book a try!