My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book was both different and better than I expected it to be. It weaves the stories of several very different people (whose paths cross at various points) into a single narrative. A couple of the people who are in the book are real people who have been mixed into the lives of the fictional characters. Subtle changes in language and style in the different narratives kept the novel from being confusing. Ultimately I liked all the characters but one and even he was well drawn, he was just a jerk. Some took longer to warm up to than others.
"And if he wasn't entirely happy, he wasn't unhappy, either. Rather, he found himself inhabiting the vast, empty plateau where most people live, between boredom and contentment." (p. 7)
"He had never really mastered English, but he'd studied enough to have a healthy fear of its random severity, the senseless brutality of its conjugations; it was unpredictable, like a cross-bred dog." (p. 9)