It is not hard to imagine someone like Edna, who moves invisibly through a culture that has no time for the old woman ripping the crossword puzzle out of the free newspaper at Starbucks. Savage's skill is in creating complex first-person characters using nothing but their own voice. As improbable as it sounds, "Firmin" was narrated by a charming, erudite rat — well-read because he had gnawed his way through literature's great works — with a fondness for porn and Ginger Rogers. Edna's voice, too, is unique and hypnotic, although it is full of evasions and omissions. She tells a difficult story: It is cold and critical, a fading picture in place of memory.