Like many of R.E.M.'s songs, this books takes us back to the days of the Reconstruction.
It tells us the tale of John Henry as seen by various characters of today's America.
We have a hobo, a journalist with a very modern romantic relationship, and a set of persons who - in a way or the other - find themselves joined by the celebration of John Henry's figure.
Wonderfully written, perhaps this text might result a little scattered. I mean that perhaps the stories of the various characters are not always well interwined and the book may seem as a collection of short stories that are a bit too long.