I gave this a 3.0/5 stars. I’m unsure how to put this novel in a genre, maybe women’s literature. I think the focus is spiritual awakening or psychological with self awareness and how the characters perceive themselves in the world while contemplating life and death and their meaning. But it was pretty flat and slow so I had a hard time engaging. I appreciate reading about different cultures viewpoint on death and their traditions but this story wasn’t what I expected. The two main characters finally interact in chapter 20 but it took too long to get there. Chapter 26 finally clarified some stuff and felt like a game changer but I wish it happened sooner.
Here’s my thoughts live while reading: Chapter 1 in Yejide’s point of view was interesting with the story telling aspect. The grammar was often for the verb tense like “Catherine hold her granddaughter,” instead of “Catherine holds her granddaughter” which contribute to the vibe. The first comp that came to mind was “Where the Crawdads Sing.”
We meet Darwin in chapter two and I’m enjoying the concept of the corbeaux flying above the dead like vultures. It sounds like Darwin will end up being a grave digger soon.
Chapter 3 felt pointless since the character was just walking and there were multiple pages mapping out where he took the turns in the town and that buildings were in front of him, then behind, on the way to the cemetery.
I liked the descriptions of the gravestones. Some of the dialogue small-talk felt unnecessary. I’d like to know what the character’s goal is, just to get a job? Is that it?
Too often the writing felt like a bunch of stage directions as he’s moving about the house and I’m realizing the story feels removed because of third person narrative but also there’s a lot of ‘telling’ with filtering words used in the prose so I don’t feel a part of the story.
We finally have some conflict when his mom doesn’t agree with his new job even though he’s only trying to help with some income.
There’s a lot of segments with backstory that doesn’t seem to move the story forward so I’m still pondering what the point of everything is for? What is this book about? What is the purpose? What do the characters want? It feels a bit aimless right now.
Because of the heavy narration, the story is slower overall and I need to reread sentences often to make sure I understand because the verb tense is incorrect throughout the novel. I’m not sure if it’s an error from translation or a purposeful style but it’s not working well for me.
The Bible scriptures make me feel a bit uncomfortable but the vibe works well when in contradiction to digging a grave.
In chapter 14 something interesting finally happens and this is where the story should’ve started. Darwin sees a possible spirit or ghost while working in the graveyard. Now he’s asking himself questions.
There’s some intrigue in chapter 21: where did the old man go?
Chapter 32 is the first time I feel agency from the hero.
The last 50 pages was much better than the rest of the story, but overall this was more boring for me than I had hoped.