The louder voice of frustration--fuming over how familiar this is--needs to shut up for a moment: weak Morrison is still strong tea. There's a smooth shifting of points of view, stitching moments across some thirty or forty years with a confidence that glosses how damn hard it is to make this work. And there are images like objects, visions of such concrete detail that you can just about pick them up, feel their weight, texture. Morrison is an intensely tactile writer, yet untethered from the constraints of the unities--time, location, identity are fluid.
And, yet.... Did you ever see the end of M*A*S*H
? Hawkeye tells this story over and over, the death of a noisy chicken on a crowded bus, the loud clucking/crowing worrying the passengers as an enemy patrol goes by, until the owner wrings its neck to quiet it, yet--spoiler!--the therapist eventually helps Hawkeye work out that it wasn't a chicken, it was a kid. There's a moment here as thuddingly, obviously Freudian. (It is probably the shared backdrop of the Korean war that brought that episode to mind, some 25 or more years after I saw it.). There are accounts of bruised and quiet but good men, of women in physical and spiritual community banding and bonding against the pain brought by men. There's an arc that--however typically artful--is just too typically Morrison.
KFed writes a review that is a bit more generous, more interested in reflecting on the sustained work of TM, of her engagement with form, fitting this novel into that broader appreciation. His review might capture some of my frustration but hit what works here more effectively. Again, it's strong tea. You may love it, and if you haven't read much Morrison, why ever not? This is just not the strongest Morrison.