I wanted very much to like this book. I had read reviews of it, and it seemed to mesh very much with how I have been feeling lately. However, when I read it, I was very disappointed. I felt like it was the outline of a better book, and wasn't very well fleshed out. The main character had very little insight into his own behavior, and was somewhat of a hypocrite. For example, there are many descriptions of Antoine stealing from and cheating people, and yet he goes on and on about how few moral people are left in the world. This can work as a literary device, but I got the impression from the way it was written that the author didn't have a lot of insight into Antoine's behavior either.
I mainly thought that the book was very lazily written. There are some potentially interesting supporting characters that are given short shrift. For example, Antoine has a friend named Aas that, due to a childhood trauma, only speaks in verse. Page doesn't ever give us a sample of this verse, only says things like, "In a magnificent sonnet, Aas told Antoine...." I can hear echoes of my old writing teachers: Show me, don't tell me. The book is replete with examples of this.
It was not entirely bad. There are some very interesting ideas in the book, and some phrasings that really caught my attention. The first paragraph is great. However, these shining moments were the exception and not the rule. My overall impression was that this was a book written by a very young author (he was in his mid-twenties when it was published, I believe) who had some great ideas that he was eager to get on paper. He got them on paper as quickly as he could, and couldn't be bothered with the details or internal consistency because they just slowed him down. Unfortunately, no agent or editor along the way asked him to slow down and fill in the blanks. I'd like to see Page, who obviously has unguided talent, rewrite this book when he is ten years older.