The Enchantment of Lily Dahl
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The Enchantment of Lily Dahl

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Description

Lily Dahl is a heroine of the old school: tough, beautiful and brave. A nineteen-year-old waitress and aspiring actress living in Webster, Minnesota, she becomes enchanted by an exotic outsider - an artist from New York. Drawn into a world of erotic adventure, she finds herself the target of mysterious acts of madness as she strains against the confines of small town life.

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Product details

  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 124 x 196 x 20mm | 222.26g
  • Hodder & Stoughton General Division
  • Sceptre
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New edition.
  • 0340682361
  • 9780340682364
  • 83,823

Review quote

Compelling...Webster's hot-house atmosphere and collection of oddballs and freaks are brilliantly evoked...She orchestrates suspense masterfully and her writing has a quality of stillness, of effortless deliberation, which is peculiarly suited to the sense of foreboding. Literary Review Full of humour, surprise and powerful images...Hustvedt's real triumph, though, is to take the ordinary and make it strange while showing how all strangeness is rooted in the ordinary. Observer Told with the gripping pace of a straightforward mystery tale...A natural born storyteller Independent A taut and convincing drama, as well as an intriguing metaphysical thriller Sunday Times Subtle, complex and engaging Financial Times Hustvedt's powerful theme of small-town mentality shows how intimacy and claustrophobia, secrets and skeletons, come out of the same closet...[an] exploration of the narrow line between imagination and reality while still managing to be a rip-roaring adventure story...beautifully written Scotsman A startlingly good novel, tautly written and very sexy. Marie Claire

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About Siri Hustvedt

Siri Hustvedt's first novel, The Blindfold, was published by Sceptre in 1993. Since then she has published The Enchantment of Lily Dahl, What I Loved, The Sorrows of an American, The Summer Without Men and The Blazing World, which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2014 and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction. She is also the author of the poetry collection Reading To You, and four collections of essays: Yonder, Mysteries of the Rectangle: Essays on Painting, A Plea for Eros and Living, Thinking, Looking, as well as the memoir The Shaking Woman: A History of My Nerves. Born in Minnesota, Siri Hustvedt now lives in Brooklyn, New York. She has a PhD in English from Columbia University and in 2012 was awarded the International Gabarron Prize for Thought and Humanities. She delivered the Schelling Lecture in Aesthetics in Munich in 2010, the Freud Lecture in Vienna in 2011 and the opening keynote at the conference to mark Kierkegaard's 200th anniversary in Copenhagen in 2013, while her latest honorary doctorate is from the University of Gutenburg in Germany. She is also Lecturer in Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical School and has written on art for the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph and several exhibition catalogues.

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Review Text

Hustvedt's second outing abandons the cerebral regions of postmodernism (The Blindfold, 1992) and turns to the familiar melodramas of small-town gothic. Nineteen-year-old Lilly Dahl lives in Webster, Minnesota, rooms over the main-street cafe where she works as waitress, and has ambitions of becoming an actress - she's learning, in fact, the role of Hermia for a local production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. The dream-world of Shakespeare's play and the events here befalling the hapless Lilly are often dovetailed neatly enough by Hustvedt, but at the same time her heroine's credibility-stretching tale of perversion, mystery, and obsession groans with the familiar. The seeming start of things was the long-ago killing of a woman named Helen Bodler, whose farmer husband is said by some to have buried her alive. Waitress Lilly serves breakfast daily to Helen's now-grown sons, the demented and unwashed bachelor farmers Frank and Dick, and to another distant relative of the dead Helen's, the eccentric loner Martin Petersen, ex-childhood playmate of Lilly herself. When eerie things start happening, then, there is no dearth of suspects - excluding neither Mabel Wasley, Lilly's 78-year-old neighbor who types all night and has secrets aplenty up her sleeve, nor Ed Shapiro, the handsome artist and out-of-towner who knows all about opera, works on his mysterious canvases all night - and steals Lilly's susceptible heart. When new murders and spectral sightings (of Lilly herself, no less) are reported, our feisty heroine turns fearless gumshoe ("She froze and held her breath. . . . But Lily knew that she was going to lurch headlong into whatever was waiting for her"), managing finally not only to expose all but to play a cool hand when Ed Shapiro at last offers to waft her away to New York City. Mystery, murder, and provincial caricatures, all in a readable but curiously dusty mix from a writer whose aims seemed higher the first time around. (Kirkus Reviews)

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