I'm torn about how to review this book; as the other reviews have said, it's an incredibly well written book with very distinct characters. Unfortunately, I just loathed Emanuel, the 'hero' of this novel. In many ways I was reminded of Doris Lessing's "Children of Violence" series -- Martha Quest is a tough character for me to like but she's a true figure, acting within the constructs of her world, and Emanuel does as well. The world he lives in is absent of love, that driving force of so many other novels, and I couldn't decide if I wanted to root for him or throw the book aside. In the end, I finished it, still uncertain of my opinion. But now, a week later, it still sticks with me.