this is the first american novel i have read in quite some time. and to be honest at first i was distracted by this fact. The first few chapters that take place in nyc are on streets i have walked on many, many times and might have done so at the exact time the characters were doing so. so there was a bit of some strange form of nostalgia creation going on. one that i was not very comfortable with and one that began painting my opinion of the book quite negatively.this is obviously my issue.thankfully egan leaves the city i know so well and really made me love this book. As for her tight, compelling prose, she is masterful though out. i was not thrilled with the idea of a powerpoint chapter, but holy hell it worked as quite possibly the best portion of the book. i really enjoyed how a major thesis of the book was the broken people find music as a way to come together with others. i had not realized it till i came to the aforementioned powerpoint chapter. in fact, somehow -- inexplicably even -- everything started to gel with this chapter. As someone who has used music as a medicinal balm for as long as i can remember, this point rings vibrantly true. so it is not the idea that was compelling, but how egan masterfully moved around her characters to show it. i find myself wanting to have the large gaps she leaves open in so many characters lives, as she jumps around so much, filled in. i can not think of a better complement to characterization than this. cwhat did sort of drive me mad though was not knowing who was narrating each chapter. and when it came to the 2 chapters narrated by two of bernnie's female band mates, i constantly had to go back and read which one was indeed telling the story, or rather who we were seeing the story though. there was just not enough substance to tell them apart. having freckles vs not are not overly compelling characteristics to distinguish two people. yes i get that they were supposed to be similar, but the book would have been far stranger with two distinct voices in these chapters.