My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Quietly devastating. That’s how I would sum up The Far Field. Vijay’s prose isn’t flowery or ornate. It tells the story simply, going back and forth in time as we follow the main character, as a child always close by her mother who doesn’t fit in the world she occupies and as a young woman after her mother’s suicide, trying and failing to find her own place in the world. She leaves home on a search for a man who used to tell stories to her and her mother, and the closer she gets to finding him, the more complex, ugly, she finds the world to be.
How do you know who you can trust? How do you know whose words you can believe? What is the actual truth and who has the power to decide whether the truth is declared as such or covered up with a stench of lies?
When you leave home and have a life-changing journey, can you ever fully share it with those you left behind? Why do people willfully leave everything they know?
The Far Field doesn’t blatantly ask these questions, but it pokes at them through the actions and observations of its characters. It’s not a fast-moving novel; it’s not plot-driven, but it flows steadily and just when you start to feel like nothing is happening, the story takes a jarring turn.