This beautiful and tenderhearted book (all her books are tenderhearted, even at their most drily ironic) joins elegance of structure with a subtle, oblique scrutiny of the dissimilar trajectories through adulthood of three emotionally interdependent siblings, and the friends and lovers who were involved in the terrible accident that ends the first chapter. The magic is declared in the book's title: it describes both the device by which the reader journeys from chapter to chapter, and the special sort of narrative time-travel (skipping whole years in a single leap) that allows us to experience a quarter century of growing up (or failing to do so) for the many characters in this story. I thought Anshaw performed an amazing feat in the unobtrusive, restrained way she gave life to the one character who was robbed of her future right at the start of the book. In the last chapter, Anshaw gives us (or I should say, Olivia, who alone did time for the child's death, and is rendered as an especially closed, opaque personality) a small miracle, a consoling touch whose mystery has been fully earned over the length of the story. Alice, the sister who paints, is a surrogate for the novelist, who captures, and blesses her human creatures (and a couple of dogs) with a patient accumulation of small, attentive touches. Anshaw's books are all about family (even when the family is broken or--as in this book--frayed), about the mismatch between love and passion, and about the rueful, sometimes anxious acknowledgement that we're hopelessly fallible. They're also about the mysteries of time. In Anshaw's world, art (the writer's art especially) is redemptive--and the writing is pitch-perfect.