i've read several books by tom de haven and this one is my new favourite. before that, i would say i liked the sequel to this book, dugan underground the best but this one feels simpler, and cleaner, and more emotionally centred. i have yet to read the first book, funny papers. the trilogy is linked only that it explores the lives of the artists and writers of the same comic strip, derby dugan, over the course of its 80-year run. it could just be the era it's set in that makes me like it more, dugan underground dealt with the hippie era of comics, and was in some ways darker than this novel which has its own heartbreaks. still the protagonist made me love him and that's always a plus for me.