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I read for pleasure, too

- I had to give up.

- Not well written?

- The individual scenes were beautifully written. The writer has class. And an ear for the language.

- The characters bothered you?

- They were okay, if too numerous.

- A cast of thousands?

- No. Seven. Plus incidental walk-ons.

- Seven is doable.

- Yeah. But the conceit of the book is that the characters show up at different times and different places in new versions of themselves. Their core personality is the same, but they behave differently depending upon their setting. (As we all do.)

- Still. Keeping track of seven characters isn’t so bad.

- Maybe. But the scenes kept jumping around. It’s not like we were given one story in one setting, finish that and go to the next setting. It was three pages in one setting, three pages in another, three pages in a third, back to the second one, then the third, then the first. . .

- You didn't know where you were going next.

- Which might be okay, but by page 80, we were juggling six settings. And within each setting there were periodic flashbacks, so that time kept moving in all directions.

- It sounds challenging.

- It was. But the writing was really good. Poetic almost. So I was willing to put up with it. Then. . .

- Then?

- Then the characters kept returning to a setting where they were actors in a play with its own defined set of new characters that I had to learn. And the play was being delivered by portion of scenes in a disjointed way, with arch dialogue about power and philosophy. It felt interminable.

- You lost patience?

- It was too much work.

- But the writing—

- Didn’t give me enough story to make the effort worth it. Scenes were cut off just as I began to build interest.

- Sounds frustrating.

- It was.

- The book has a really nice cover though.

- On my shelf.

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