Visiting friends recently recommended this novel by Siri Hustvedt. I started reading it before I was done with the Houdini book and stayed up till three in the morning the other night to finish it.
So that tells you something about how much I liked it.
I never read anything by Siri Hustvedt before, but this novel makes me want to read more. Contemporary fiction is not often so learned. Richard Powers is the only other author I can think of right now who manages to convey such fierce intelligence and rapacious curiosity and knowledge about the world in invented characters.
The invented characters in this novel include an artist, a professor of art history, a Henry James scholar, and a sort of cultural critic. The novel contains friendships, love stories, joys, griefs, sane people, crazy people, and even a murder.
What makes a novel great?
I am not sure, but I know that this is a great novel.