Protagonist #1 starts the story by telling us about his intake into a transitional residential facility in New York. He has knowingly made his way there (by talking about suicidal ideation at the emergency room) because he wants to be in the area when an ancestor of his comes to visit, an ancestor who is stalking him. This ancestor has knowledge of treasure of vast worth- and of a curse. When he shares this with the therapist and the other residents of the shelter, he is declared delusional. But it isn’t very long before the shelter has another new person: the ancestor, Barnt.
Most of the rest of the story is Barnt telling his story. Back when New York was barely New Amsterdam, his family was there. We learn about his business dealings, how he met his second wife- the most beautiful person on earth-, how they married, what happened after, and how the family came to be cursed by his actions. It is a very, very long story. He travels back and forth between New Amsterdam and his home in the wilds. He and his wife have sex constantly (no graphic sex, just saying it happened). We are left in the dark as to whether Barnt is a figment of the protagonist’s imagination, a ghost, or the person in the flesh, doomed to roam New York like some Ancient Mariner, telling his tale.
I have to say I had trouble sticking with this book. Every action Barnt took is told in great detail. In the end it is an unsubtle moralistic tale, which seemed like a very abrupt finish. I am afraid I can only give it three stars out of five.
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