Julian Treslove, the character through whose eyes we view all other characters and events, is a rather pathetic former BBC radio producer. A man who seems to be desperately seeking an identity while, an interesting irony, working as a lookalike. The story reveals his complicated and unhappy relationships. There is Sam Finkler, a Jewish philosopher, successful writer and television personality; Libor Sevcik, an old teacher, Julian's two estranged wives, both alike, whom Treslove has imagined dying in his arms; his two sons, equally alike, disliked by their father who named them after characters in La Boheme and La Traviata; and Hephzibah, a rather wonderful, warm and refreshingly sane woman who, it appears likely for a short time, will actually make Julian happy. As Treslove tells the reader his life had been, "one mishap after another", we realise that he is not destined for happiness. He's a man never satisfied or accepting but always questioning and wanting something else. Early on Treslove is mugged by a mystery attacker: he suspects a woman and spends much of the ensuing story pointlessly wondering on the significance of the event and trying to rationalise it. There was some discussion about whether we felt sympathy for his character but the general consensus was dislike for his increasingly selfish preoccupation with his own concerns and interests as the story developed. It is not surprising that he fails to make the official opening of the museum at the end but instead makes a complete spectacle of himself with his inappropriate response to the people holding a vigil outside. His self -indulgence makes him a master of misinterpretation and misunderstanding. There are a number of themes running through the book which enabled a lively and varied discussion: about love, loss and the process of grieving, ideas of belonging, of family and identity. Did we appreciate the humour? There was much that was funny but we wondered whether the author was perhaps trying to be a bit too clever at times, almost smug in the proliferation of in jokes and references. It did generate much discussion about attitudes to race and, inevitably, the history and politics of the Middle East and the significance of the inclusion of the group known as the ASHamed Jews. There was mixed opinion as to its being considered a "good read". These ranged from vehement dislike to a liking in parts, from an appreciation of the humour to an overall enjoyment of the book. I must confess that such a long time had elapsed between our reading and my preparing to write this that I had to reread it recently and thought I gained more from the second go!