... it is rather more than that. If I remember correctly, it is the cover or inside cover 'blurb' from Philip Pullman which states that this is rather more than just a novel. It certainly is. I had steadfastly avoided purchasing BECAUSE of all the 'hype' surrounding publication of the English translation; however, having just finished 'volume 1' I can see that I really was stupid. The superlatives are justified. To me, it's not 'literary' although it certainly is more than just a thriller. The characters are drawn so vividly and the description of places makes me want to visit. Don't delay reading it.