Two and a half stars, read in March 2018.
I found this book very stressful.
Given how long and sprawling it is, following so many characters throughout four generations, it often seemed strange how long we lingered on specific, not particularly meaningful conversations before jumping through time and space to continue the story. It just sort of meanders, loose threads not tied up, and with characters turning on their family members for no reason there is a distressing amount of unnecessary suffering alongside the very real suffering of war (I was so angry with Noa, twice).
I find few things as upsetting as the way humans have spent our existence, in most cultures as far as I can tell, making life as horrible as possible for as many people as possible based on completely arbitrary rules that we all just accept because of What People Will Say. It’s not that I don’t understand how difficult it is to go against societal conventions, and obviously in this case there were even more specific, real dangers for those who did; but there’s a difference between behaving conventionally because you know you have to, and buying into it. The most frustrating thing to me is when people don’t see how wrong society is.