This is a GREAT book. Echoing what others have said, what an achievement for a first novel. The story and writing style reminded me strongly of One Hundred Years of Solitude, which is one of my favorite books. This book employs much of the same ideas of magic realism and chronicles a family, though not through as much time as One Hundred Years. To be fair though, this book's plot and story line are really nothing like the other work. This was really an excellent story, which is absolutely beautifully written.