In response to the last review, this is one of the best books I have read and Murnane is one of the greatest authors alive. This might not be the best place to start, perhaps Tamarisk Row or the Plains. What this book is about, to quote Murnane from his book of essays, is the "unstable world adrift as an island in the ocean of the heart". It is about "longing to breathe with ecstasy at the smell of enduring lilacs" while deep within a very private place with eyes fixed on the horizon, which might never be reached but it is the journey that matters. The reader who wants plot, dialogue, and narrative should look elsewhere. The reader who wants literary philosophical fiction at its best need look no further.