I already knew, from past experience, that when you start reading a novel by Richad Powers you have to hang on like the kid on the end of thes schoolyard crack-the-whip line. "TheTime of Our Singing" follows an African-American/mixed race family, extraordinarily gifted in music...and, here and there, in mathematics...through four generations. A cenrury's worth. That trek becomes a profoundly moving and challenging account of the United States of us, through the twentieth century: socially, musically, scientifically. Not what-happened history so much as who-we-were-and-are experience. The knots that Richard Powers' storytelling ties in time, space and knowing are like the macrame of God. No kidding; this is one of the great books.