Review: Forest Dark by Nicole Krauss

Title: Forest Dark
Author: Nicole Krauss
Pages: 304
Genre: Literary Fiction
Source: Free ARC from Harper

Rating: 4.5 stars

Note: As stated under the Source (above), I received this book for free from Harper via Edelweiss. I pride myself on writing fair and honest reviews.

Review: I’ve never liked The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Despite having read it several times, the story simply annoys me. But my gods, Fitzgerald knew how to pen a sentence. Before Fitzgerald, it never occurred to me that some books are constructed of the most beautiful sentences ever written, and that alone makes them worth reading, never mind how they play out collectively.

Nicole Krauss is a modern-day Fitzgerald. The way she puts words together is magical. This book took much longer to read than I anticipated and one of the two principal reasons was the number of times I reread sentences, simply for the pleasure of it. Because her work is artful and elegant, but accessible. If I didn’t connect to the story on the whole, I connected deeply with so many of the parts that constructed it. If there is a book with more highlighted sections (no worries, it’s on a Kindle) than my copy of Forest Dark, I’ve not seen it.

The second reason it took awhile to read is it is a very…cerebral(?)…book. It is written to convey something not to entertain. It’s thought-provoking, but slow and methodical. It’s like a pot of water set on a low burner. It will never boil, and it isn’t meant to. So, I’d read a little and chew on it a bit. Read a little more, get a clearer understanding, and set it aside to think some more. And at the end, despite all the stopping and thinking, I feel like I left a lot behind, like I didn’t fully grasp what I was meant to, or that I simply didn’t get from it all that I could. Perhaps, the ultimate intent is beyond me, but I suspect this is one of those books that becomes clearer after multiple readings, so I’ll pick it up again and hope to find some of what I left behind.

If you love literary fiction, this is a must read. If you are content to read gorgeous prose, this is a must read. If you love books that you can chew on, sentences and paragraphs that speak unspoken truths, this book is a must read.

For me, it is a must read again.

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