A lot of work to read, and several people claim it as a classic. It certainly uses language to create a time and place exceptionally well. But the plot is thin – that’s fine. The characters aren’t very clear about what they want; not really – Riddley himself seems to be very confused. So you need a theme or central concept or something. I think there are a lot of things that might be themes in there, but I don’t think any of them are properly explored. It’s a bit of a soup of lumpy, unidentified pieces of food, when it could be a nice plate of sausage and potatoes. But then things are rarely clear in life, really. I think it’s probably worth a re-read at some stage, because it does take so long to get what is going on at all.
See also: Cloud Atlas, middle section – although this book does have a theme and characters you can believe