Birnam Wood by Eleanor Catton is quite the page-turner. Catton’s writing style is intoxicating.

I enjoyed the dialogue in Birnam Wood the most because it kept the narrative rolling and unpredictable. What you learn about the characters is most often revealed via their dialogue and what they decide to say aloud, not necessarily what is said about them. I also appreciated the greater concept of the novel and the ways in which it touches on deception and one’s motives, and ultimately forces the reader to ask things like: Is deception ever moral or just? What do we really know, and what do we think we know?

However, I was still at a loss as to what billionaire Lemoine’s real motives were for interacting with Mira, Shelley, and Birnam Wood– and that critical part of the narrative seemed too glossed over to me, which is most unfortunate given how the novel ends. Perhaps more backstory of Lemoine’s character would have been helpful. Or more insight into his motives. I truly found it hard to follow the idea that he would interact with them at all let alone invite them onto the property, as there was no real reason offered and he had a lot at stake. Overall, I was not drawn to any of the characters, had a hard time differentiating their personalities, and had a difficult time caring about what they were doing and why.

It should also be noted that this novel does not really read like a thriller until Part III, so keep reading it until the very end to get its full effect.

With all that being said, it’s still true that I wouldn’t hesitate to read another book by Catton, as her writing style is incredibly engaging.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

For more information about this novel, see the summary of Birnam Wood on Goodreads.

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