Friday, August 12, 2016

Review: This Too Shall Pass by Milena Busquets

Title: This Too Shall Pass
Author: Milena Busquets
Publisher: Harvill Secker
Release date: May 12th 2016
Pages: 164
Genre: Young Adult contemporary romance
Source: Gift from publisher
Add to Goodreads | Puchase from Amazon
Blanca is forty years old and motherless. Shocked at the unexpected loss of the most important person in her life, she suddenly realizes that she has no idea what her future will look like.
To deal with her dizzying grief and confusion, Blanca turns to sex, her dearest friends, her closest family, and a change of scenery. Leaving Barcelona behind, she returns to her mother’s former home in Cadaqués on the coast, accompanied by her two sons, two ex-husbands, and two best friends, with plans to meet her married lover. Though she is haunted by both the past and the present, Blanca embarks on a new sort of journey alongside those she loves most, one of resilience and hope, teaching her to live on with the knowledge that even the most devastating pain will eventually subside.
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars


While definitely not my typical read or the type of book I would want to read a ton more of, This Too Shall Pass was an interesting reading experience for me. It's very literary, much more literary than I'm used to, and with that come both the things I like about literary fiction and the things that make me not want to read it all the time.

The writing is gorgeous. I don't know how much of this is Milena Busquet's writing and how much of it is excellent translation, but the words in this book are just so beautiful. It's the kind of writing that makes you stop and think after every other sentence. Saying this sounds so cliched, but I really think that this book is full of important life lessons, beautifully expressed and leaving a lasting impression.

I also loved the main character Blanca. I've read a lot of reviews complaining about how much they disliked Blanca, and I can see why - she's not the most likeable character. She's selfish, incapable of love, and makes terrible decisions most of the time. But I really liked reading about her. I related to her problems, and regardless of whether she's likeable, I think she's a very realistic character and her story is very honest.

However, as with a lot of literary fiction, it was hard for me to really get to know the secondary characters or become invested in the plot. We get short descriptions, but I don't feel like we really get to know any of the secondary characters in depth, and none of them really have their own storylines. To some extent, this could be attributed to Blanca's self-absorption and emotional distance from everyone around her. But I felt like at least Blanca's mother's character could have been explored in more depth, considering she was supposedly the most important person in Blanca's life. We read about Blanca's problems with her mother towards the end of her life, but I don't feel like we ever get to see the two of them in any kind of positive relation that would justify her being so important in Blanca's life. Because I felt like I didn't really know the characters, I felt somewhat removed from the plot for a good portion of the book.

Even though This Too Shall Pass is a very short read, it definitely packs a punch. Not necessarily the plot - not a ton of things happen, really, But the beautiful, thought-provoking writing makes it worth it. I would definitely recommend this for fans of literary fiction, or someone looking to give literary fiction a try, since this is a much quicker read than most literary novels. 

2 comments:

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