... spiky ... It’s the sort of thing that makes Koch such an intriguing writer; his provocations are designed to reveal nothing so much as our own feelings of entitlement ... seamlessly rendered into English ... a worrying glimpse of cultural incompatibility that the 65-year-old author confronts us with. But it’s also one that he shies away from by tagging on an unearned ending that feels awfully hollow, mainly because Sylvia and the couple’s teenage daughter, Diana, never emerge as fully fledged characters ... Koch spends so much time teasing the reader with little clues about Sylvia’s origins that he forgets to address a crucial matter: What did she see in her husband in the first place? Did she actually fall in love with him when he visited her homeland as a young man? Or did she use him as a chance to escape the life she was living? These are vital questions Koch chooses not to answer. By not allowing us to be party to Sylvia’s side of the story, he shows that his interest in the so-called 'other' is strictly limited to his literary gamesmanship.
... threads about mortality, murder, and Robert’s past history of alleged violence begin to connect. The connection is an awkward one, though. Koch has crafted a pitch-perfect tone for a man consumed by jealousy, which in part demands some digression and ranting. But longueurs about trash-pickup policies and wind power are distracting, even as they intend to reveal Robert’s distractedness, and dampen the impact of the (somewhat) revealing final chapters ... A shadowy tale of the power of projection that’s swamped by the narrator's rambling nature.
... disappointing ... Robert is a pleasant enough narrator, but his refusal to actually do much of anything (other than ponder) gets old quickly ... comes across as a case of a narrator in search of a plot; some passages are real head-scratchers (anyone who has ever wondered about the recent history of Amsterdam’s municipal glass recycling program is in for a treat) and the narrative’s late tilt into metaphysical matters is ill-advised. Less definitely would have been more; hopefully Koch returns to form next time.