This is a book I admire by a writer I love. There is a studied, literary quality to the shaping of the fiction, and a deliberate otherworldly quality to the overall novel that announce it as a serious engagement with the art of writing. The story accrues in bits and pieces, and the idea of blackouts, which is also censorship – personal and public – is turned round and round and inside out in a delicate, beautiful way. The writing is what one would expect from Torres, lovely and clear, though less engaging, for me, than his first novel We the Animals. That he is a brilliant writer and thinker is clear, and that he is ambitious to be taken seriously and studied is manifest in the careful research, the allusiveness of the prose, and the stretching of the novel form to include what amount to poems – pages of writing in which sections have been blacked out to form a new text out of an old one. In all these facets this gem-like novel shines. For me the problem is not the book itself but the idea of literature, and the tropes of literariness, which have a tedious quality to me. Like many ambitious novels, this one has the feeling that it is meant to be studied more than read. Nevertheless the book engages the viscera, the heart, and not the head only, which is a fine achievement. What I admire most about Torres in the writing of this novel is that he did not attempt to repeat what he did in his first novel but rather sought to expand it. The novel covers vital territory in its exposure of the past. It reaches its peak for me in the short section about the protagonist’s love affair with Liam. That I cannot quite love it the way I did the first book is my own failing; as I have aged I read for what moves my feelings more than what moves my mind. This is a fine, important book, deserving of its accolades.