Might have been OK with a better editor. The writing style is pretty pretentious, but the bigger issue is the weird continuity problems - there are a whole lot of scenes where the author seemed to forget whom exactly the narrator was supposed to be addressing, who the narrator *was*, or what the characters were doing from one sentence to the next (e.g., a woman barrelling into a group of men hard enough to scatter them, though she's also supposed to be holding an extremely delicate, sickly infant...? Somehow?) She also bases most of the suspense in the story on the idea that cholera epidemics are caused by even the briefest skin-to-skin contact with infected people (or sitting near them. Or being in a room they've been in in the past few days. Or touching anything they've ever touched, no matter how long ago.) Here too, a good editor or fact-checker would have been helpful. I could probably have overlooked any of these issues on their own, or maybe I could have overlooked all of them if the story had been better. As it is, I spent the first third of the book confused about whether the book was *supposed* to be this nonsensical, the next two-thirds expecting the author to forget a character's name or claim they picked up bubonic plague from indiscriminate eye contact, and all of it irritated by the writing style.