How can the mayor of Amsterdam possibly think of running a city when his wife may be cheating on him and his parents are planning to kill themselves? From the New York Time bestselling author of The Dinner.
... 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.