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This is the kind of book that lands you right in a certain place and time (in this case California in the 1950s), populated by intruiging characters and description that manages to be both terse and lush. The atmosphere is wonderful, but there's little plot and no central character, so it demands quite a lot of patience from the reader at times.
I wanted to put a word in for the narrator, who does a wonderful job, moderating his voice perfectly to express the many and varied characters, including the women (no mean feat!). I find it so hard to find a narrator who doesn't end up annoying me, so this alone was a joy.