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I don't know whether it was the writing style or the characters or the subject matter that I found difficult a the beginning of this novel (or just the fact that I had about a million other books to read) but I must have started it a dozen times before finally plunging in and reading it all the way through.
It's a novel about an astronaut and math genius named Keith who has just come back from space (so not so relatable for me) to find that his shrill, unfaithful and perpetually unlikable wife has left him (a sore spot for me since I am a wife who is faithful and hopes to be likable but is, you know, human and possibly prone to shrillness) after the sudden death of their only daughter (there's the kicker--I always find child bereavement stories killers to get through...okay, poor choice of words). So this one was a tough sell for me. I almost gave up and moved on to something lighter or easier from my perpetually growing "To Be Read" pile.
I am so glad I gave it one more chance.
The Infinite Tides is a quiet novel that doesn't run from its own grief (even if the protagonist wants to). It's a novel that allows itself to be melancholy, gives the reader permission to cheer the tiny breakthroughs in recovery for our grieving hero Keith (in the form of his new friendships with two of his neighbours) but doesn't provide a sitcom happy ending where everyone's fine and it's as if nothing ever happened. The loss of a child is not like "a very special episode" of Family Ties and Christian Kiefer doesn't treat it as such.
In the end, it is a book I would very much recommend, but if you are a parent (or in the extreme unlikelihood that you are an astronaut), I would recommend reading it at home when you can check on your children regularly, and not while away on a trip (or in space). It'll make you wish you could tell the people that you love, well, that you love them.
Disclaimer: I received a digital galley of this book free from the publisher from NetGalley.com. I was not obliged to write a favourable review, or even any review at all. The opinions expressed are strictly my own.