Christian Lorentzen at the London Review of Books:
Just about everybody who doesn’t beat or rape Jude loves him: his friends; his pro-bono physician, Andy, who despite his better judgment never has Jude committed for his self-harm; and his law professor, Harold, who introduces him to the wonders of contract law, gets him a clerkship with a judge, and adopts him as an adult to make him his heir, as well as to fill the gap left by his own son, who died of a neurodegenerative disease. In proper melodramatic manner, Jude goes from the pits straight to, if not the top, the upper middle class. The ghastly litany of his childhood sufferings is at least coherent. Jude, an adult player in a melodramatic lifestyle novel, in which the point is to observe the way the passing of time affects the cast of characters, is static. This is the formula: insert a case of arrested development into a contemporary male version of The Group. The one question that remains is whether Jude will enter into an adult sexual relationship. On his first try, at around the age of forty, he takes up with Caleb, a fashion executive who proves to be another abuser and winds up invading his apartment and beating him senseless. The episode eventually drives Jude to a suicide attempt. In its aftermath, as anyone might have guessed from the start, he and Willem, now a major motion picture star, recognise that they’re more than friends. It’s not unheartwarming, but Jude’s issues remain the same as they were two decades earlier: he won’t divulge his past and he still cuts himself. By now the narration has degenerated into a series of repetitive contemplations of the scenario, alternating between Jude and Willem’s points of view. The middle-aged Jude has become a corporate lawyer who harasses whistleblowers on the stand on behalf of big pharma.