This is a really weird book. The characters aren't all that likeable. And the plot? Unbelievable. Really. Not believable. Not credible. Absolutely ridiculous. I'd give examples, but no one would believe me and they would be spoilers anyway.
But I loved this book because of its ambition. The author designed the messiest situation he could think of in a way that felt quite orchestrated, but I got used to it -- I was kept busy suspending all kinds of disbelief. He resolved the little problems but not the big ones. He picked of every kind of insidious prejudice he could find in 1920s New York and tossed it around brazenly without really getting much of anywhere. His characters asked some, but not all, of the right questions we should be asking about life. And they failed. They failed big time, but they survived, and they changed. And I loved it. And I hated it. And I loved it.
Here's a short quote to characterize the book:
"Here they were, a gallery of misfits -- a black kid, a Jew fairy, and a circus freak -- halfway around the world, pulling levers on the American culture machine."
I received this book as part of the FirstReads Goodreads program.