Reading this book is like going on a date with someone who is perfectly appropriate, but not enticing. It has all the elements of a good book: The writing is beautiful, sometimes to the point where it is called magical realism (I'm not so sure about that). The keen observations on human nature are there. I got the message of hostages and terrorists creating unexpected bonds, of finding beauty among repression, of art being an escape to reality...
I got it.
I just didn't like it.
It was only in the last third of the book that I actually got attached to some characters, and it prepared me to have the right emotions at the heartbreaking end. I gave the book an extra star for that.
I got disappointed at the Epilogue, it was beautiful, but a little contrived and there was a certain development that needed more explanation. For a work of such emotional complexity, it fell behind. Overall, I thought this book was very well executed, but a little too perfect, too artificial, like it was a huge exercise on writing well. It didn't feel honest.