Moments of soaring, heart-shattering prose. Krauss has the ability with one sentence - the gaps between the words, really (what you're expecting, more than what you are reading) - to imply and evoke the depth of emotion from the tragedies of life. It doesn't hurt that her characters have undergone or are experiencing the greatest contemporary tragedies of our times - the Holocaust, war, political persecution, sickness, death, deep and unreconciled domestic splits.
Much of this is about writing and, secondarily, reading. Stories, novels, poems, letters - the characters reading them, and those writing them - they all play a prominent role. It seemed like an insider's view of something that was not quite accessible to us mere mortals. And the rest of the symbols, the houses, desks, various pieces of furniture (themselves fraught with history and crumbling with time and misuse), in which or upon which the stories, novels, poems were written - were sometimes a little esoteric for all their material solidity. Sometimes too clunky; other times a little too subtle.
I dunno. It seems churlish not to like it more than I did. I bear most of the blame, no doubt, for not reading more attentively and consistently. But whether it was because of that or something else, the problem here is that none of the beautiful and heartbreaking words and thoughts and images on the page ever came together as a novel.