This is a long novel populated by characters who are not always easy to get along with but are somehow still compelling. I can see why it won awards. The chapters covering Oscar's early life in England have a Dickensian feel to them in that there is a sadness to his childhood and some of the supporting characters are almost caricatures. Lucinda's early life is altogether more gritty and Australian and I spent the first half of the novel wondering how on earth the author could possibly engineer a meeting between these two. They do eventually meet and the story becomes even more intriguing once their paths have crossed. There are a lot of twists and turns in the plot and yet they are subtle and it was only when I had finished reading it that I realised just how much distance the story of these characters had covered. I had a suspicion that the novel would not end as I expected it to, and I was entirely correct about that. Like a lot of great novels, the ending is faintly disappointing and I did lose track of who one or two of the supporting characters were as we went along, which is a problem I have encountered before with books of this length. However, I was gripped all the way through, the ending was certainly not predictable and now that I have finished reading it, I miss it.