If you check www.amazon.co.uk, you will see that this is a popular book among young European intellectuals who delight in finding the parallels between aspects of this book and the writings of lesser known European philosophers. Many indicate that they come back to this novel again and again. I found myself thinking, however, that this might not have been necessary if the author had been less ambiguous, more specific. Ostensibly the story of four students, one of whom has disappeared, during a time of political tumult, the book explores philosophy, politics, social upheavals, the characters and their inner lives, the historical past and its effect on the present, the specific mystery of Immanuele and her fate, the relationship between love and death, the connections between physical and idealistic love, the effects of fear, the relationships between dreams/reality/nightmare/fantasy, the bird and water "symbols" and their possible meanings, etc.
Though I liked the book and admired the "reach" of the author, I felt that in many ways the reach was greater than the grasp and that the book was not successful as a novel in its own right. Alternating between ambiguity and stark reality, between moral conundrums and fleeting nightmare, between staccato sentences and ethereal moods, I found myself looking for more coherence. Readers who consider buying this book would do well to seek an alternate opinion on www.amazon.co.uk.