Bizarre. It is a very strange book - the characters in it are extremely strange, almost unbelievable, and Paul Auster has created a strange world where reality twists and a simple game of poker changes the lives of the players. Paul Auster's favourite themes of obsession, melancholy and the darker side of human nature are all here, but on reading this particular work the writing seems somewhat disjointed, and it is not as rich in ideas as, for example, Moon Palace, where every other page contained enough ideas for a new book. Still, it is readable, and there are some brilliant passages, but this is not Paul Auster at his best, which is the big surprise! The theme of the story is somewhat similar to that of Mr Vertigo, with the concept of journeying, and most of all Paul Auster's exploration of solitude and its effects on the numan mind is as thought-provoking as ever.