Hard to add anything to the thousands upon thousands of reviews of this book it seems everyone read before me, except this: why no comparisons to the exile/diaspora writing of Milan Kundera in The Joke or in The Book of Laughter and Forgetting? While less multi-leveled than Kundera's writing, the presence of the authorial alter-ego and the central narrative role played by violent political histories as borne out in the lives and loves of ordinary extraordinary people seem to me, anyway, to be cut from the same cloth. I've often wanted to revisit Kundera's early books, which had a profound effect on me in my early 20s, as I'm sure TBWLOOW has had on so many others.
Don't miss the audiobook reading, if you like that sort of thing. It is terrific, and as a nice bonus, also has Drown appended, a nice surprise which now goes on my to-read/to-listen list.