This is a set of interlocking short stories concerning an ever-increasing cast of characters, all linked in some way to one of the others. Egan is a writer of great clarity, so I never found the format confusing, although I did find it frustrating. I wanted to know much more about some characters but the action would move on to someone else. Although the structure is unconventional most of the stories are not. They are beautifully written, perfectly paced and, like the best short stories, show someone's whole life in a snapshot. Some of them were absolutely brilliant, but I think a writer of this quality should have been able to see that the whole book is rather less than the sum of its parts.