The Balcony by Jane Delury takes the familiar phrase “if these walls could talk” and runs with it. The book tells the stories of multiple generations of occupants of the same French estate.
Ohh how I wanted to like this book. I found the premise to be unique. As someone who has lived in multiple apartments, I’ve often wondered about the previous and future occupants. Who are they? What do they do? Did someone fall in love in this room? Did someone cry until they didn’t have any tears left in the same room I’m sitting in now? So when I when I read about this book online I was immediately interested and went to the library to snag a copy.
I’m sad to say this book just wasn’t for me. We’re introduced to new characters and a new time period with each new chapter. This causes the book to seem more like a series of short stories as opposed to one cohesive story. The author doesn’t give us enough time to really get to know or truly care about any of the characters. Characters from previous chapters are sometimes mentioned in subsequent chapters; however, by the time I got to that point, I had a hard time remembering who the character was or why I should care about them. I also found all the jumping between time periods to be confusing and felt like I needed a diagram to keep track of where the story was going and how all the different characters were related and fit into each time period. The stories deal with multiple issues including adultery, death, loneliness, and tragedy. I found the book to be pretty gloomy. Once I finished it, I wasn’t sure what the actual story was, I just felt like I had witnessed some very sad glimpses into the lives of some strangers.
Overall, I found the book to be slow and sometimes just boring. There were chapters I thought were okay, but there were a lot that I struggled to get through. I definitely wasn’t staying up late at night to finish the next chapter. I love the idea of this book, but I think it could have benefited from keeping the story in a strict chronological order so that each new character’s story could flow more smoothly into the next one.
If you’re looking for a real page turner with a good storyline, I wouldn’t recommend this one. However, if you’re someone who really likes short stories you might enjoy reading this book chapter by chapter.
Have you read this one? What did you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
PUBLICATION DETAILS: Little, Brown and Company, March 27, 2018, 978-0316554671