What an interesting reading experience! I thought i was in trouble when I wrote down over 20 words I didn't know in the first 50 pages, but things smoothed out a little after that.
I had been looking for this book for months, and in the meantime found and read Number9Dream, which was a good story, but not spectacular. I finally found this book in a used book store at the Raleigh airport: What a nice surprise to be waiting for a flight and to be able to browse a used book store -- and there are only two airports I know of that have them.
Unfortunately, it then sat on my reading queue because when I flipped through the book I saw my three least favorite narrative styles (journals, letters and interviews) all in the same book.
When I finally did pick up the book, I didn't even notice a narrative style. The story swept me up and moved me through all sorts of fascinating times, and cultures and people.
I do seem to be missing something about the story, so I intend to start my research after I finish this review. If there was an "Ahha" moment that I missed, I may change my rating to 5 stars.
I also tried to read very little about the book before reading it, and so as not spoil it for any one else I won't talk much more about the contents other than to say it a marvelous journey and worth every minute of the time you devote to it.
I will comment on one aspect of Mr. Mitchell's writing that I truly enjoy. Most novels feel like they start on page 1; you meet the characters and then you follow along until the ending. However, this book feels like you start at page 100, or that the story started before he started writing and you are just jumping into the narrative at a random point. It takes a little time to sort out the details, but I find this a refreshing change.