Sometimes you just don't get it.
There were parts of City of God that I really enjoyed. The narrative of the young Jewish boy in the Lithuanian ghetto was interesting and compelling. And I liked the story of how the cross wound up on the roof of the synagogue, and the relationship between Pem and Sarah. I could not, however, figure out how all of the different stories fit together. About three-fourths of the way through the book, I had the idea to look at the book jacket and the lightbulb finally went on. The novel is actually in the form of a writer's "workbook" where he records different story ideas and things, and the parts that I liked and got interested in were story ideas.
So. A little convoluted, to say the least. But, it didn't diminish the interesting parts. It just made everything a little more confusing for me. I think I just need a more traditional novel where I can basically follow what is going on from beginning to end!