"The main part of the work (chapters one through nine, exploring various aspects of Imaginal reality) is book ended by the story of the author's own death and transfiguration in the wreckage of a deeply hoped for but ultimately doomed love. Grief is not the bottom line here, only the al chemical fire. Transfiguration is the bottom line. The chapters are themselves interwoven with five shorter reflections, called "tropes." In medieval musicology a trope is a short, lyrical piece attached to a larger element (like a scriptural reading or liturgical text) whose purpose is to comment on and accentuate the larger element. That is exactly how these little tropes are intended to work. They are not fully a part of the chapter they are paired with (and they resisted all efforts to being shoehorned into that format), but in their tangential positioning, they draw out deeper and more feelingful shades of meaning at work beneath the cognitive surface of the chapters themselves"