I'm selecting books that start with all the letters of my name, and finding an "E" was kind of tricky, but I found this hiding out on my shelf. It's extremely literate, but jumpy, and chronologically doesn't make any sense. The narrator's grandfather by the time of the book has to be at least around 100 years old, but there's no indication of his age. This bugs me enough that I sit around contemplating it while I'm reading the book. It's well-written, but does not get very interesting until you're about a third of the way into it. I finally took the book into the bathroom and it's somehow gotten better.
Final review: I cannot deny the writing is good. Most of the words seem necessary (but not all of them) , and the pace is slow but steady for the most part. The characterizations are consistent. The snippets of Nigerian history are fascinating, and it's in this history where the book becomes interesting and picks up pace.
That said, this work was not all Williams' own and I'm trying to figure out how he included passages from other published works without referencing them (though he did incorporate them seamlessly into the narrative), and though he gave credit at the back of the book, the two most interesting chapters were written by someone else entirely. These were the chapters where we get out of Evie, thankfully. We are allowed to see her from another point of view, and there is some action. But overall this book is not my cup of tea. From the beginning, Evie comes across as kind of bland -- maybe that's what Williams is going for, but it doesn't make me want to keep reading about her, especially the asides about her current situation in the attic, asides where she'll interrupt a story and say things like (but this is not an exact quote): "How lovely to copy someone else's work and not struggle with my own history. I just copy and copy and copy." These interruptions are too frequent and uninteresting, particularly the several paragraphs describing which volumes of the encyclopedia are holding up her desk. These are several detailed paragraphs relating what number volume of Encyclopedia Britannica are piled where, used as table legs, for her makeshift desk, so when she needs to look something up she has to take her whole desk apart. Honestly I just dont care about that.
The writing is artful, the story idea interesting, but the story itself just does not hold up. I dislike spending nearly 400 pages with an emotionless person and hearing her life story.