I will leave plot synopsis to others. I enjoyed his lyricism and way with words. Several times I found myself re-reading or copying down a sentence just to appreciate it's beauty and wisdom. What I enjoyed far less was the very meandering nature of the book; like Russian nesting dolls, there is a story within a story and its hard to see the relevance until the end. With short stories taking the place of a longer, more constructed narrative, it's easy to get lost in the cast of characters. I also dislike his overall depiction of women, which perhaps may represent the time period, but I fear more likely is a reflection of cultural bias. The book suffers from the "Queen or whore" syndrome, which makes it less enjoyable for me. One of the other reviewers summed it up nicely when he wrote, "this is a book of marvels, but not a marvelous book."