I first heard about Visible Empire on a podcast back in the second half of 2017. Waiting until the summer of 2018 to read it seemed unbearable.
It’s fair to say that Visible Empire was one of my most anticipated reads of this year, so I’m a bit confused as to how to even write this review. Looking back, it definitely didn’t live up to the high expectations I’d been setting myself up for, but then again, I can’t exactly pin down the one reason why I didn’t enjoy it as much as I was expecting to. It’s readable, it’s a summer book for people who despise summer books, it’s <i>fine</i>, but that’s really it.
We follow various characters dealing with the repercussions of the 1962 Air France plane crash in Paris which killed 130 of Atlanta’s most elite residents. Several of the characters were right up my alley: unlikeable and wealthy (seriously, is there anything more satisfying than reading about rich people behaving badly?) and others felt like they were deliberately placed there to comment on the social change occurring in Atlanta at the time. The problem was, these characters just fell felt for me. I didn’t connect with a single one. I struggled to empathize with anyone, or even dislike anyone enough to stir any emotion.
In fact, I’m going to equate this book to a bad first kiss. You know what I’m talking about. You build up something so monumental in your head, you think it’s going to be one of your most treasured experiences, but when all is said and done, you’re left wondering, <i>”Was that it?”</i>.