The novel consists of three interrelated stories. I thought the first two stories were quite bizarre, but the final story was a bit more believable. Part one is set in Portugal during the early 1900’s. In it, a man loses his young wife and child. Fueled by grief, anger, and loss, he begins walking backwards, borrows a car from his uncle, and sets out on a journey to locate a crucifix fashioned by a missionary in Africa centuries earlier which now resides in a remote Portuguese church.
The second story takes place in Portugal as well in 1939. In it, a pathologist experiences an inexplicable New Year’s Eve while working late at the morgue.
The final story is about a member of the Canadian Parliament who recently lost his wife. The way in which he confronts his grief is pretty bizarre. He rescues an ape from a U.S. research facility and takes it to the Portuguese town where the statesman was born.
As in novels of this sort, the stories share a connection. The stories are interesting, thought-provoking, and well-written. Having recently read an Agatha Christie novel, I experienced a deja-vu moment of my own while reading it because her books are discussed at length by one of the characters in the second portion of this book. I think this is a novel which requires slow digestion and deep thinking. I enjoyed it in some ways, but not wholeheartedly. I am curious to hear the thoughts of anyone who has read it. As for me, the jury is out!