Rated of 5
Exceptionally creative & well-written first novel
This novel isn't your run-of-the-mill missing person mystery. It's a very complex portrait of a man's descent into insanity -- from the viewpoint of the madman who thinks himself sane. Galchen's writing is amazing, and this is a "must-read" for people who simply enjoy good prose. As is indicated by the critical reviews posted elsewhere on Bookbrowse, this novel is sure to garner a lot of praise from those who read books for the writing quality as much as for the plot.
I must say, however, that there will be a large number of readers out there who will not like this book, and I have to admit I'm among them. The protagonist spends a lot of time analyzing his situation, including tying complex scientific priciples to what is going on around him. While interesting, the book's non-linear plot where nothing seems to make sense will frustrate those like myself who prefer a more traditional novel.
So, in short, I think it's a brilliant novel, but in truth not one I enjoyed. 5/5 for the writing; 3/5 for the plot.