"When the world changes greatly this can occur because of a single dramatic event, or because many small elements, each inconsequential in itself, fit together - like the pieces of a wooden puzzle box, of the sort sold in any village marketplace for a few copper coins"
So I really like it so far - but beware even if you are familiar with his works, this book's pacing is extremely *extremely* slow much more than usual even for him at least for the first 50% and this book is 639 pages long. I had to force myself to continue reading the first maybe five percent but then it sucked me in. For me the slow pacing fits perfectly because it is ancient China and I always imagine the rhythm of life there to be much slower than say in Europe. Characters are carefully introduced one by one and they create a beautiful picture together, even if the plot seems to not move, but really I think it does move in a sense that the picture gets bigger and bigger. I don't know - I really enjoy it even if it takes me several days to read it and will probably take few more.