2/20/10: I finished this book today, and was not ready for it to end. From the beginning I was reminded of a story like Harold and Maude - where a young boy is enchanted by an older (though not that old) woman. At times, it made me uncomfortable, but never to the point of making me put the book down. The level of honesty with which Martin approaches his characters should be commended. Believable to the point where I lost myself in the story, and enchanting in too as Martin paints the canvas of our reality and our imagination's reality. The ego,and the alter ego are thoroughly entwined his story-within-a-story approach. A lovely, thought provoking book.