The Bone Clocks, by David Mitchell
David Mitchell doesn't write characters so much as inhabit them, and it's extraordinary. "The Bone Clocks," his latest novel, spans from the mid-1980s to 2045 and follows (basically) the life of Holly Sykes. The first and last section are written from her perspective, while the other sections are from the perspectives of those who enter into her life at certain times. Hugo Lamb and Crispin Hershey are particularly amazing, two British men who are too smart for their own good and whose minds are stunning and hilarious. I am a self-professed Anglophile, and Mitchell's British-ness is positively delectable. He's an amazing writer, incredibly smart and deft at weaving a persona out of thin air. And there's a strong element of the surreal involved - vampire-like immortals, souls that are resurrected forty-nine days after the body they inhabit dies, and a cold war between the two - and I just love that such a commercially successful and respected author can write such things without getting saddled with the sci fi stigma (which even I, a huge sci fi fan, readily admits is quite real). I got to meet Mitchell, at an event in San Francisco, and he was utterly charming (though sick with a cold) and came off as incredibly intelligent while also being a huge amount of fun. It's always a relief when one meets a respected author and they're also a lovely person. I cannot say enough good things about David Mitchell; read his books!