An excellent story, as I'm beginning to expect each time from Mitchell. I do often think the covers of books are too far apart, but Mitchell's big books should be bigger. I want to know his characters better, stay with them longer - he writes books worthy of greater investment.Ninety per cent of this book pays off in just this lingering way. Characters are growing, there's movement of years that you barely notice are passed, and you become almost a native of this place he's creating. Then you come to that point when there's more book to the left than to the right (way too much) and you know how much ground Mitchell still has to cover (it's obvious) but there just isn't enough space. He's going to let you dangle or he'll strand you on this foreign island, forgetting to bring you home for something very like a thousand autumns.But David Mitchell is a decent man. Rather than cut you off, he gives you the rudimentary supplies you need to get to your destination and a map.