In pre-Revolutionary America, Octavian is raised by a group of natural philosophers. I have no idea whether I'd have liked this as a teenager; I love it now. It is one of the most devastating critiques of racial politics in US history I've ever read, and one of the clearest depictions of personal trauma. I've read reviews that criticized it for Octavian's distant, impersonal tone, but I think the reviewers are missing the forest for the trees: science is both the instrument of Octavian's torment and means of his escape. It's not emotionlessness; it's repression.