Having not yet finished reading the book when I started writing this, I can only comment on what I have realised so far. When I have finished it, no doubt I’ll write some more. ^_^
The reviews for A Density Of Souls differ largely, fluctuating between 1-2 star ratings with bitter comments, and 5 star rave reviews. This book is a troublesome one that covers a lot of incredibly unpleasant realities, bundling up a dozen serious experiences that happen to people everyday, and then wraps them all up in a wonderfully written (if complicated) story. My guess is that the people who enjoyed the book are probably people who have experienced one or more of these- whether the destruction of friendships, the emotional damage of abusive relationships, the trauma of death and suicide, the difficulties of mental illness or the social otherness of being gay- and these people find themselves drawn to the characters they feel the most connected to. It takes a talented writer to involve the readers in what has been written, to absorb them in the story. I think those who didn’t like the book didn’t feel that connection, hadn’t felt those feelings.
When I picked up A Density of Souls, I expected Christopher Rice’s writing to be a pale imitation of his mother’s. I couldn’t have been more wrong. He has his own style and while some of the places mentioned are familiar to Rice fans, everything is somehow different. Intense and beautiful and ugly all at once, and sometimes, incredibly uncomfortable. I would recommend anyone read it, regardless of how they might feel about it. It’s certainly an experience to be had.
That said, they say that an author’s first published novel tends to be heavily autobiographical. The way some of this is written… Well. I wouldn’t be surprised.