From this tale's very beginning?the birth of the narrator's father in the middle of a bridge party?the reader is plunged headlong into a novel crowded with voices, characters, tragedy, and joy. The disintegration of history and identity in the 20th century is seen through the adventures of one family?half-Jewish Viennese, split apart by the Nazi invasion and sent out into the world. Dispensing with linear narrative, the story loops forwards and back to follow each member on their winding course. Their experiences encompass fraudsters, footballers, fools, and fur coats as the narrative moves from Austria to London and from Canada to the battlefields of Burma. This is a landmark European novel of impressive reach and power whose readership will spread as widely as the family whose story it tells.