Unlike many people, I could never get into Bel Canto, which always felt a bit too elaborately fabricated for me. But I did enjoy this novel. It’s almost a family saga, centred around an improbably imposing house to which all of the members of its not-very-blended family feel entitled (unless, like the narrator’s now-absent mother, they reject it out of hand). In fact many things about the novel are improbable, but I liked the way the characters, including the narrator, would morph from admirable to obscurely untrustworthy, constantly giving the impression that there was more to what was being said than met the eye. I liked spending time with these clever, complicated people and above all, I liked the fact that I looked forward to getting back to the novel when I put it down – an experience that seems to become rarer as time goes by. (Apparently the book is also rife with literary allusions, but except for a moment when I started thinking about Housekeeping, I’d have to say they largely passed me by.)