This book was highly rated or strongly recommended to me by three different people whose taste and judgment I trust. So it was a big disappointment that I didn’t like the book. I got about 40% of the way through it and gave up because I still hadn’t become interested in the story or characters. It’s too long a book to spend the necessary time to finish something I don’t like. I found none of the characters credible or relatable and none of the events believable either. I could point out more specifics I didn’t like, but I don’t take any joy in throwing a wet blanket on the joys of others, so if you liked it, good for you. Towles’s earlier book A Gentleman in Moscow was somewhat better, but I was lukewarm on that one, too, for many of the same reasons. There’s just something about the artificiality of Towles’s style I don’t like.