A layered, riveting novel from a skilled storyteller
He is a very stylish, almost painterly writer, and he has Hilary Mantel's gift for historical reconstruction, for describing the past without making it seem like a wax museum. In some of his best books - like Ingenious Pain, his first, about an 18th-century doctor, and the more recent Pure, about an engineer in pre-revolutionary France trying to clean up an ancient cemetery - he brings off the Mantel trick of plunging you so deeply into the past that before long you take it completely for granted . . . A subtheme of this novel, where one of the main characters can't see and the other can't hear, is unknowability, how hard it is to make sense of the world . . . In its formal slipperiness, first one kind of book, then another, Now We Shall Be Entirely Free seems to be making the same point: that things are never quite what you expect, and history is altogether stranger than most accounts suggest. What makes Miller's own account so riveting is its alertness to wonder and unpredictability.
A propulsive, beautifully written investigation into atrocity, guilt and new beginnings.