The Enchantment of Lily Dahl: A Novel by SIRI HUSTVEDTThe Enchantment of Lily Dahl: A Novel by SIRI HUSTVEDT

The Enchantment of Lily Dahl: A Novel


Paperback | March 1, 2004

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The protagonist of Siri Hustvedt's astonishing second novel is a heroine of the old style: tough, beautiful, and brave. Standing at the threshold of adulthood, she enters a new world of erotic adventure, profound but unexpected friendship, and inexplicable, frightening acts of madness. Lily's story is also the story of a small town--Webster, Minnesota--where people are brought together by a powerful sense of place, both geographical and spiritual. Here gossip, secrets, and storytelling are as essential to the bond among its people as the borders that enclose the town.

The real secret at the heart of the book is the one that lies between reality and appearances, between waking life and dreams, at the place where imagination draws on its transforming powers in the face of death.

Siri Hustvedt is the author of several novels, including The Blindfold and The Enchantment of Lily Dahl, available from Picador. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, Paul Auster.
Title:The Enchantment of Lily Dahl: A NovelFormat:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.64 inPublished:March 1, 2004Publisher:PicadorLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:031242339X

ISBN - 13:9780312423391


Rated 2 out of 5 by from odd coming of age tale... Despite early reservations, I kept reading 'The Enchantment of Lily Dahl', but I wouldn’t necessarily say that I loved the novel in the end. It’s a strange book populated by a cast of characters so odd it seems impossible that they should all end up in the same story. There’s Lily, the 19 year old waitress who worships Marilyn Monroe and dreams of becoming an actress. There’s Mabel, her elderly next-door-neighbour, who can’t sleep and spends her time writing the story of her life. There’s Dick and Frank, two elderly men who are so filthy they leave a black cloud wherever they go. There’s Hank, Lily’s beau-hunk of an ex-boyfriend. There’s Edward, the artist who lives in the building across the street. And then there’s Martin, an oddly menacing boy Lily has known her whole life. This wild assortment of characters live in a small town, Webster Minnesota, where Lily works as a waitress at the Ideal Cafe. The story Hustvedt is trying to tell seems to be one about secrets and memory, youth and old age, dreams lost and realized. The whole middle section of the book, though, reads as though Lily is crazy and it’s hard to say whether this is a triumph (and I am just too dense to see it) or a failing. In between waiting tables and sleeping with the painter from the building across the road, Lily is rehearsing her part in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She also seems to be, to some degree, coming apart at the seams- although I think this is supposed to be the character navigating the tricky road from innocence to experience. For me, though, while her coming-of-age-journey was nicely written, I never felt connected to Lily or what was happening to her. Both the real and the imagined obstacles were off-kilter…as odd as Lily and the people she spent time with.
Date published: 2009-01-12

Editorial Reviews

"Siri Hustvedt writes, literally, like a dream--a dream that's at once intensely romantic and disturbingly eerie. This dark, sexy, spooky novel is an indelibly memorable fiction. Read it and it will haunt you." -Salman Rushdie"Highly original...a crystalline blend of innocence and sophistication, irony and candor." -Newsday"The Enchantment of Lily Dahl has the power to pull readers firmly into its orbit and to keep them there." -The Village Voice"She writes like a dream." -GQ