A vivid story, spanning key events of the 20th century, as told by a dying old man to his grandson. He was a roisterer, a charmer and a felon, obsessed with rockets and the moon. The grandson in this book is a writer called Mike Chabon, and the old man’s life is very similar to the real author’s grandfather – but whether this is a fictional memoir or an autobiographical novel matters less than that it’s a wonderful read. We travel many paths, including that of the grandmother, still carrying the numbers from the camps, haunted by an image of “the skinless horse”, where madness lies. Her daughter – Chabon’s mother – left with relatives when her parents’ marriage collapsed. Full of intimacies and secrets, this burrowing into family is told in high Chabon style, yet held me gripped until the very end.