"In the 1st set, each solo is interrupted by its successor: in the 2nd, each interruption is recontinued, in order."

This structure is exactly that of the book itself, and Mitchell seems to be putting the subsequent question directly to the reader: 'Revolutionary or gimmicky?' In interview Mitchell explains that 'If on a Winter's Night a Traveler (sic) by Italo Calvino - an experimental novel in which a sequence of narratives is interrupted but never picked up again - made a big impression on me when I was an undergraduate. I wondered what a novel might look like if a mirror were placed at the end of a book like Calvino's so that the stories would be resolved in reverse.'