Book Chat’s rating: ∗∗∗∗/5

From the book cover:

Sofia, a young anthropologist, has spent much of her life trying to solve the mystery of her mother’s unexplainable illness. She is frustrated with Rose and her constant complaints, but utterly relieved to be called to abandon her own disappointing fledgling adult life. She and her mother travel to the searing, arid coast of southern Spain to see a famous consultant–their very last chance–in the hope that he might cure her unpredictable limb paralysis.

But Dr. Gomez has strange methods that seem to have little to do with physical medicine, and as the treatment progresses, Sofia’s mother’s illness becomes increasingly baffling. Sophia’s role as detective–tracking her mother’s symptoms in an attempt to find the secret motivation for her pain–deepens as she discovers her own desires in this transient desert community.

This book reminded me a lot of Bonjour Tristesse. Although narrated in first person with meticulous observation and deep thoughts, Sofia has an air of indifference surrounded her. Perhaps it was because of the book cover, I feel like she was floating in the sea with the bright sun shining down as she narrates the story. I don’t necessarily like any of the characters but together they created a perfect lazy seaside town – a town that allows an escape but ping back to reality occasionally, which is exactly what the story is about. 

This book also reminded My Name is Lucy Barton in a way it describes the mother and daughter relationship. But I like this book better than that one, Sofia and Rose make a more likeable relationship than Lucy Barton and her mom.

Overall, I like the writing, I really do like the quirkiness and the observations that seem random but spot on, but I don’t think the story is very original which make me rate this somewhere of 3.5. The inner psychology of a woman trying to discover homosexuality isn’t a novel idea, the detective work of figuring out Rose’s disease isn’t exciting and the discussion around medicine and pharmaceutical is not interesting. I would recommend reading it once because of the beautiful yet nonchalance narration but it is not a book I will go back to read again.

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Hardcover, 240 pages
Expected publication: July 12th 2016 by Bloomsbury USA (first published March 31st 2016)