Wow – this is a big book. I listened on Audiobook and it took just over 25 hours. It’s the story of a band in the 1960s and follows each of the four band members as well as their manager giving them all a rich and in depth backstory and character development journey. There are many cameo appearances from famous musicians of the era, and although I’ve read some angry reviews on Amazon from people who lived through the sixties that this young whippersnapper born in 1969 didn’t capture accurately the feel of the times or the personalities of the real people, I thought it was fun (I was also born in 1969 and I’m not an aficionado of the 60s music scene!). Each of the five characters had difficulties to overcome, and I really felt like I got to know them and lived the journey with them, and I listened with chortles, gasps and even tears. My favourite character was Jasper de Zoet who is a direct descendant of Jacob de Zoet (from David Mitchell’s novel The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet). Jasper is a lovely plain speaking man with high functioning autism as well as schizophrenia (or is he actually possessed??). Apparently there were lots of appearances from characters out of David Mitchell’s other novels, and although I have read and loved all of them, my memory for names is so terrible, that a lot of that was lost on me. David Mitchell has said that all of his novels fit together in one huge metanovel, with interwoven themes, plots and characters, but that each can equally be read as a stand alone with no knowledge of the others. Almost every aspect of the human experience is lived through by the characters (and therefore vicariously the reader) from mental illness, suicide attempts, drug abuse, unplanned parenthood, bereavement, family relationships, homosexuality, love, friendship, failure, success, camaraderie, etc, etc, and the cherry on the cake, for me, was the stream of magical realism. I feel like my life has been enriched by listening to this book and I really enjoyed it.