em> tackles difficult questions of faith and fanaticism with humor and nuance. The disparate narrative strands that comprise the novel don’t quite come together at the end, but they nonetheless make for a strange, enjoyable ride.
It's an ambitious project, but he's clearly done his homework and has the self-assurance to execute the task he's set for himself with both substance and style ... In this ambitious and successful novel, Daniel Torday deeply explores life in a heterodox religious sect in rural Ohio set against the backdrop of a mysterious murder of one of its number.
Those who are following the investigation of the murder of Fritzman’s son and its connection to the various groups fighting tooth and nail for control of legalized weed in Ohio may find themselves floundering during extended descriptions of drug-induced experiences. But through it all, Torday’s redoubtable novelistic chops produce a steady stream of strong dialogue and sharply drawn scenes. The disparate elements of this ambitious mashup may make it difficult for it to find its ideal readers.
...provocative if undercooked ... Leger’s less-than-captivating search for his own life’s purpose and meaning overwhelms the question of who really killed Osman, and the author never gets back to Gram, which makes the funeral and Johanna’s connection to the case feel like narrative contrivances. Still, the premise allows for some engaging insights on the potential and perils of faith. The author has a bold vision, but this doesn’t quite hang together.