I'm reading it because it's a set book and I wasn't looking forward to it. I was expecting driven, humourless social realism, but it's got me hooked. Walker is a great story-teller (an under-rated gift) and just when I think I've got the direction of the narrative sussed she'll whisk me off in some unexpected direction- to Africa for instance. Her people are fully rounded and even minor characters have the capacity to catch us on the wrong foot. It's an epic- huge cast list, a time span of twenty years or more, action on three continents- but it comes in at a fraction of the length of War and Peace. I love the economy of the writing, the wit. Spielberg's movie, brave as it was, was never brave enough.