I started out really liking this book. The narrative concept (chapter one is about person A and mentions person B, chapter two is about person B and mentions person C, and so on...) is one I have toyed with in the past and was kind of disappointed that someone else has also thought of it. But that's not the reason I dropped my rating from a four to a three.The majority of the book is a reflection of the past and musing on the present, which was pretty cool. Then the penultimate chapter was an interesting "power point diary" from a twelve-year-old girl in the very near future. Again, pretty cool. It shows the declining literacy of the next generation but in a way that is fascinating and innovative. Power point as a means of inner expression? Sounds pretty nifty to me. The last chapter, however, completely lost me. Alex, whom we met in the first chapter (thereby bringing us full circle), is married with a young daughter and is living in a near-dystopic NYC that is some sort of cliche combination of Gary Shteyngart's Super Sad True Love Story and Karen Thompson Walker's The Age of Miracles. The abrupt transition from meandering through the '80s-'00s in a nonlinear, jumpy narrative to sometime in the 2020s or '30s where society spEks thru Ts and cn fnd NE1 in the wrld with the click of a button left me disoriented and disappointed. I felt like Egan was shaking her finger in my face and saying "listen up or this is where we will be in ten years." But listen up to what, exactly? All my friends and coworkers rave about this book, but it just didn't rub me quite the right way in the end. I still enjoyed the vast majority of it, though.