The bleakness makes this book quite a demanding read. It recounts a period in the life of an immigrant Czech woman taxi driver living on the edge in New York. The descriptions of the city are however extremely vivid and give a strong sense of place.
New York neighbourhoods - or hoods - seldom have well-defined boundaries. In fact, the opposite is true: for God knows how many decades the whole of New York has been fighting over where one of them begins and another one ends. If you tell someone that you live on the Upper East Side, the person in question measures you with his gaze, then lifts up his eyebrows and asks: 'HOW Upper?' - that's because there's a borderline of at least twenty, thirty blocks that, in theory, still belong to that neighbourhood, full of bored old ladies who, as the law requires, meticulously pick up shit from under their dogs' rear ends, but in reality it's Harlem already.