There is enough material in The Discovery of Heaven to fill several books, and a writer of lesser integrity might have split the phases of Ada, Max, Onno, Sophia and Quinten's lives into separate volumes. Instead, Mulisch expertly, if sometimes jarringly, even violently, welds them together using what would otherwise have been cliffhanger endings as startling links between episodes of quite different flavours. This literary device is crucial to the plot; it reflects the experiences and informs the reactions of the characters with precision. It is only one aspect of this intelligent novel which delights, intrigues and challenges at all levels.
It is a very Dutch story and I was repeatedly reminded of my several Dutch friends throughout. I was especially pleased with Max's humanity -- as an astronomer myself, it was refreshing to find such a character with infinitely more depth than an inappropriate white lab-coat.
The story is a fantasy of grand design, set in a tangibly real world with convincing, larger-than-life characters, resulting in fiction which carries more truth than its fair share. There are no mundane details and the character's every act is touched with subtle significance. A read to add richness to any life.