This is partly autobiographical. Which is kind of scary because now we know Rice is obsessed with death and with wanting to play the violin. The story starts where Triana (Rice i suppose) has just lost her husband to AIDS and his dead body is still lying in the house (she stays with the body for 2 days actually). The beginning of the book was actually the best part, (I had read all the other bad reviews for it on US Amazon) and i was thinking "it's not so bad, what was all the fuss about?" Then it just got confusing and messy because this ghost keeps playing outside her window (with a violin) really beautiful music which makes her think of all the people who have died (her mom, dad, little girl and husband). Then the ghost (incubus? what is that?) comes to her and I just didn't get the relationship between Triana and Stefan (the ghost/incubus), it wasn't properly explained what he wanted from her, or what he was. Stefan told some of his "story" from the 19th century but still it fails to make the reader feel sympathy for him. It just gets Sooooo confusing, i mean he "shows" her all these images of his life and we don't know how or why or what is going on. Then suddenly she's in Vienna (she has just stolen his violin (a ghost violin?)) How did she get to Vienna??? and she finds that she can play it like a musical genius (before she wanted to play the violin but had no talent), so she becomes famous and plays everywhere in the world with an entourage of her family following her and using all her money. Then Stefan keeps begging her to give the violin back (why won't she??!!). Then ...etc. etc. What I enjoyed: I love Rice's writing, I love her thick, rich prose and beautiful wording. It was said that this book was too 'wordy', I agree but I don't mind because I'm used it by now, you just have to concentrate, but really some of the descriptions and etc. are just too convoluted. I felt sadness reading about the daughter's death but i couldn't relate and also the bits she told of her childhood and alcoholic mother were quite sad and also shocking, it caught my interest. She goes on and on about death, (to be expected but still...) and guilt (enough already), everyone keeps crying, it's a bit too melodramatic) I don't like the way she created Beethoven, Paganini, i don't like it that she "created" them at all. I just don't accept the whole "point" of the book, i understood where she was coming from but i didn't feel like wallowing in pain, everything was just too overdone and acute. 'when you laugh the world laughs with you, when you cry....'