Which made me start wondering just what is a masterpiece. We all have our own opions and it is a matter of taste, but one thing's for sure, book reviewers have to be really careful about using such words (they're entitled to their opinion of course), because such high praise can only lead to high expectations among readers.
And if these are not met, you are not only disappointed with the read but also then question its validity and potentially any other reviews from the same source.
That said, I really enjoyed the book, which is published by Vintage Press, it's a simple story and deceptively easy to read. It's told from the perspective of a man who's looking back on his life and dealing with things that happened at university (by and large) and the impact of those times on him (and a few other people) now.
It's also to do with memories, and how these change with time, and how they become less certain as we age. Amateur writers such as myself can learn a lot from how the book's written. For example, you don't have to write 100k words to tell a story or for your work to be valid; the story can be low key - you don't have to have tons of actions or plot twist: simplicity can be your friend.
But as much as I enjoyed it, it's not a masterpiece in my opinion. A couple of indisputable masterpieces for me are Cormac McCarthy's The Border Trilogy and Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast.
These books take you deep inside the story, far, far away from the here and now. Then they bury you in words and ideas, they are poetic and imaginative in ways that take you can never expect. They lead you away from yourself whilst simultaneously taking you deep inside yourself.
And when you've finished reading you are changed: the book is tattooed on your psyche. You are still savouring and thinking about them a year later and wondering how much more time has to pass before you've forgotten enough to start reading them again.
That, for me, is the difference between a masterpiece and a damn good read.