*** CAUTION ....SPOILERS*** The reason for the 3 stars is that I actually give it 5 stars in places, and an exasperated 1 star in others. I wrestled back and forwards throughout - masterpiece, or revolting, pretentious, unfocussed twaddle? Parts of it were distasteful. Sexual relations were brutal, and usually exploitative. But at least in the beginning there was a point. (I am not being prudish here) There were some sublimely well-written passages. The "older story" set in just-post WW@ Greece, was coherent, grounded - even with its 'magical realism', of which I am no great fan. Racism, suspicion, ignorance, stupid faith, anti-Semitism were exceptionally well portrayed. It is like an antidote to Captain Correlli's madnolin - nothing romantic in it. The modern story of post 9/11 Europe (and Australia and flashbacks to mid 1990s Europe) were ok, but when two-thirds of the way through the protagonist/narrator becomes the vampire he is, I plumped for "twaddle" and stayed with that view to the end. I think there's a really good book hiding in there, but in the last 150 ages there's so much disgusting and vile stuff it's buried in male fluids, blood and excrement, in my view. And repetitive...repetitive...repetitive. It does have some good things t say about post-Soviet Europe. My favourite passage is rather a brief one in Prague and neatly encapsulates the contrast between the hope - and charm - of 1995 and the depravity, corruption and despair of 2005. I am glad I read this after Barracuda, which I think is terrific, and after The Slap, which explores moral dimensions exceptionally well. I just wish he'd kept the vampire stuff out. I know it's metaphorical, but found it ham-fisted. I think he's saying that we find the old superstitions ludicrous, but we're no better....or something! His lack of judgement on anti-semitism is both brave and repugnant, as he wants it to be - the racism fostered over endless time, lies within us all.