This book is great. The writing is superb, painted a great picture. The concept of the intimacy of violence was a really interesting one.
I think what most impressed me was the empathy employed by Powers in the telling. This empathy along with the intimacy helped to illustrate the true consequences of violence and in civility. These consequences seemed to transcend the physical world in some instances, in other instances it obliterated their world. This often set off a chain reaction leading to tragedy.
Tragically, a number of the characters seemed to bear the burden of cruelty despite their better natures, all of them dealing with this in their own ways.
It was a bit difficult to keep track of the characters at times, but it is worth sticking with. Powers painted a terribly compelling picture of the casual cruelty of oppression and managed to do so beautifully.