There are several nuances about writing that often make the narration crisp and gripping. Like skipping too much details of a particular character unless it's deemed necessary. Also, the mention of festivals, colleges, certain countries and their tourist spots is usually expected to come and go as guest appearances. People really would prefer visiting to Paris and sit by its river Seine than reading about it between the pages for too long. The right usage of characters, little routine things that are easily relatable, imperfect characters, the unanticipated but apt twist, nagging neighbors...these and many more make the story free flowing. Reader should not feel he is being kept from divulging into the main plot.
In short, writing is supposed to be more suggestive than descriptive.
Prolonged formal introduction of characters too is being frowned upon. It gives more of a feeling of being told a story than feel the story. So it would be an added charm if you just put the characters on work and choose to introduce their life style, likes and dislikes, past experiences and future expectations, thought process and the rest as the story progresses on. This is actually a likable trait. It makes the story run on more efficient fuel.
i am reading this novel written by a Canadian female writer. The book is quite fat but that did not stop me from borrowing it. It's crime thriller. So as i am divulging into the plot, i find too many characters ambling its corridors. A fat book cannot run on three or four characters, certainly. But there has to be a smooth transition between characters. The reader should not feel who's this and how come she came into the picture while the other lady was cleaning in the kitchen? sort of thing. Sometimes, introductions are needed. Once they are made even as a quick glance, that actually helps the story line. i am still reading my pick by the way and the more i am getting on further pages, the picture seems to get more entangled. It's a struggle to juggle between too many names too. Some of them are confusing. The one you thought is Erik turns out after two sentences is Erica. However, the story is now picking the pace. The mystery of letters and its sender is getting intense. So i have to make all the characters to sit around a big round table and then label them with their names to attain a better grip on the story. i have read fat books earlier but this one needs more attention. And probably brain nerves too.
If the writer had chosen to introduce the characters just in the beginning of their mornings, that'd have made the act of reading more pleasant. Sometimes, we need to have basics to be able to build a well grounded spiral staircase, to get around the story without any map or fuss.