Umbrella was short-listed for this year's Booker Prize and I read enough interesting things about it to be tempted. However I didn't know the story before I started and I think that made this book a tough and confusing experience for me. I also don't think this is a good one if you are dipping in and out either (like I tend to while commuting) as it's a real 'stream of consciousness' style of writing with interwoven stories across different times. The reviews are generally positive and also honest about this being hard-going. It's probably best read in big chunks or maybe even one long sitting if you can manage it.