Debated whether to give this book 2 or 3 stars and went with two because I found this book difficult to read. When a book is easy to put down and easy to ignore, it is not an average book. I loved this author's The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, but could not appreciate the gimmicky format of this book. Mitchell tells six different stories set during six different time periods and writes in six different genres. Unfortunately, he thought that splitting up the stories was a cool trick. He began with the ill-fated journey made by Adam Ewing before the Civil War. He abruptly stops the story on page 39 and doesn't resume it until page 475. By that time, I didn't care what happened to poor Mr. Ewing. I had lost the thread of the story by the time it resumed, in my case, more than a month later. I'm not sure what the theme of the book was or what connected the six stories together. I found that reading the book was a waste of my time.