Today is the birthday of my eldest child, which is also my anniversary as a parent. This book describes a place that is all too believable, and not anywhere that I would want him to live. That said, I read this because it was long listed for the Booker Prize last year, and on the eve of the 2015 list being announced, I wanted to finish up a few of the 2014 list that I hadn't read. This is an unusual book about a city that I could never quite figure out if it is in the present or the future. The town is definitely imaginary, and the book consists of 10 short chapters in a mix of literary styles, each focused on a different character, with only the thinnest of threads connecting them.He introduces us to menacing interrogators and artful butchers, lovelorn songwriters and meandering tourists, pretentious detectives and gritty gumshoes. Each offers a distinct take on the city they share, and a different view on life and makes it meaningful as well. I think this is really close to great, but not quite there as stories go. It is of course beautifully written or it wouldn't have garnered the attention of the Booker crowd. An author to watch.