I first came to Roth with Confession of a Murderer and liked it enough to buy another, choosing arbitrarily The Radetzky March, which is, of course, a masterpiece. I read a few of his slim novels after that and liked them all but nothing seemed quite as good as Radetzky. I had String of Pearls for a year without reading it. It's wonderful. I don't know of another writer who can encompass so much plot, can shift focus from one main character to another and discuss the passage of time, and do it all with such a lightness of touch. The narrative shifts are done so elegantly yet the writing is so pacey and funny and engaging that this elegance seems to be sweeping under the surface like a narrative fairy. You don't even realise it's happening. Taittinger is a classic Roth hero- a tired man out of his depth. The story is moving and funny and enthralling and at his best (and he us certainly at his best here) Roth writes prose as beautiful and captivating as it comes. A lovely book.