I’m a bit late to this 2011 Pulitzer Prize winner but those prize giver outters definitely know their stuff. Egan’s work is true mastery of character development and a triumph of the non-linear form. It seems there is little method to her madness, as she jumps to different characters, and different points in history.
At times you are puzzled as to how someone relates to the story, and you learn that they used to work for a main character, or a former flame, etc. It’s a bit of a tangled web, but a fun read, to learn the ins and outs of these people and their motivations, and for their connections to each other and a larger story to be secondary.
The only negative thing I can say is that as an audio, this one is a bit of a struggle. The jumping in viewpoint and in timeline makes it difficult to keep track of the narrative threads, in some points I just sort of kept going and tried my best to piece together how this small person was related to the character map. Apparently there is a chapter that is a slide presentation by a 12 year old girl. I only know this because someone at work mentioned it, and thus I was able to piece it together. In retrospect it made sense because in the audio version, there was the actually clicking of slides in a summer vacation-esque slide presentation, but I had mistaken it for computer typing, not familiar with this as a device.
I’m not sure I can say what the point is of it all, but whenever I read something with great character development I leave feeling like I understand humanity at least a small bit better, and Egan’s work does just that.