I knew nothing about this book when I started it. The less you know about it the better. It's an unusual & original book - intriguing, interesting, readable, absorbing, compelling, & with a likeable narrator. Now I have finished it I am not really sure what it was all about, however I feel very positive about it. A good book that's a puzzle to ponder. A well written and enjoyable puzzle
OK, so that's not really much of a review is it? I believe that the less you know the better however if you need to find out a bit more before you decide whether to read it then, here you are....
...the book revolves around the idea of "re-enactment". The protagonist has plenty of money and a desire to keep replaying events. He starts by recreating a hazy, half-remembered memory of an apartment building. This involves getting people to play his neighbours, these include an old woman forever frying liver; a pianist practising; cats on the roof of the building across the courtyard; and a motorcyclist tinkering with his motorbike. This is just the start. After successfully re-enacting the apartment building the narrator's ideas become more ambitious and start to merge more closely with real events.
As the book's mysterious councillor reminds the reader towards the book's conclusion: "No less than one hundred and twenty actors have been used. Five hundred and eleven props — tyres, signs, tins, tools, all in working condition — have been assembled and deployed. And that’s just for the tyre shop scene. The number of people who have been employed in some capacity or other over the course of all five re-enactments is closer to one thousand.” He paused again and let the figure sink in, then continued: "All these actions, into which so much energy has been invested, so many man-hours, so much money — all, taken as a whole, confront us with the question: for what purpose?"
For what purpose indeed? As I stated, I am not really sure what it was all about, however I found it beguiling and it sparked off many thoughts and ideas around memory, feelings, experience, time, and life. I'd say that was pretty good for a 286 page novel.