This book is a treat. It has a simple storyline, perhaps even predictable plots, but it's well written and entertaining. The author has a fine grasp of human nature, and he shows this through a variety of different types of characters. Disparate plotlines slowly begin to merge, and historical incidents slowly lead up to the present while the present is simultaneously marching along on its own. The characters are each interesting; their desires, quirks and interactions make up everything that is beautiful about this book. Rachman treats each character with a humanity and an affection that allows you to forgive their foibles, overlook their weirdnesses and hope that they manage to find some type of elegant balance. If you're looking for a light but enjoyable read, check this book out.