The first chapter of this book, which was originally published as a short story, is terrific. Five stars. The book then goes on as a short story cycle, with each story focusing on a particular character or vignette that cumulatively build a picture of the society these characters inhabit. Its an interesting conceit, carried out with discipline and intelligence.
The individual stories are a mixed bag. None of them are terrible, many of them are good. None quite comes up to the standard of the first one, but that's an awfully high bar. The whole to which each story contributes... well that's where readers are probably going to differ.
The whole is a thing of high drama and deep pathos, which many readers, particularly lovers of opera (italian, german, space) may well fall in love with. Or, if they are, like me, afflicted with an overdeveloped sense of the absurd, they may find it a bit over the top and be tempted to fall into a giggle loop at precisely the most solemn moments. Lets face it, I just can't be trusted to take things seriously enough. Ah well. I soldier on.