Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Enchantment of Lily Dahl” as Want to Read:
The Enchantment of Lily Dahl
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Enchantment of Lily Dahl

3.42  ·  Rating details ·  1,869 Ratings  ·  121 Reviews
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 bro ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published March 1st 2004 by Picador (first published January 1st 1996)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Enchantment of Lily Dahl, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Enchantment of Lily Dahl

Community Reviews

(showing 1-10)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Jan 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a weird book. There's no other way to describe it: it's extremely strange. It's one of Siri Hustvedt's earlier novels, originally published in 1996, seven years before her masterpiece What I Loved. What surprised me the most about The Enchantment of Lily Dahl is how different in tone it is to What I Loved and Hustvedt's subsequent novels. It doesn't quite feel like it was written by someone else - there's a discernible similarity in style, particularly evident in the constant pervading s ...more
K.D. Absolutely
Oct 23, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: sex, drama, mystery

For a grown up man like me, what a way to celebrate Halloween. This book has that eerie feeling that one gets by reading Emilie Bronte's Wuthering Heights and at the same time watching an R-18 movie with frontal nudity. Lily Dahl, this novel's main protagonist, is a 19-y/o county girl who is a waitress in a highway side cafe in a small sleepy town in America, Webster, Minnesota. She is dreaming for a better life as an actress by going to New York. So, aside from working as a waitr
Feb 02, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Nov 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-lit, read-2016
An unsettling tale set in small town America. Centred on 19-year old Lily Dahl, a waitress and aspiring actress, it is part rites of passage and part psychological thriller, populated with a memorable cast of eccentric misfits. Probably not the best starting point for anyone who has not read any Hustvedt, but still interesting, enjoyable and well written.
Feb 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Erst dachte ich ... dieses Buch wird so ein "naja sooo toll isses jetzt nicht" Buch, aber die zweite Hälfte des Buches hat mich überzeugt. Da war für mich ein Handlungsfaden drin und ich konnte der Protagonistin Lily Dahl auch emotional folgen. Es ist nicht mein liebstes Hustvedt Buch, aber allumfassend hab ich es dann doch gern zu Ende gelesen.
Mar 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The book drew me in my its seductive descriptions of Lily's attraction to Ed an artist painting in the street. I liked the descriptions of their erotic world very much - it was understated and honest. There was a surreal quality to the book, at one point in the narrative I wondered whether the strange events were occurring only in Lily's consciousness.
The enchantment of Lily occurs on a number of levels: she enchants others - her ex Hank and the disturbed Martin - and Ed and the creative life -
Nov 02, 2013 rated it it was ok
I usually need about 50 pages to get drawn in by siri but unfortunately this didn't happen with this book. Thematically there were many similarities to What I Loved but they were much more engagingly and intriguingly explored in What I Loved, particularly the themes of changelings, memory and identity. I found it a struggle to finish this book and therefore wouldn't recommend it.
Joan Winnek
Feb 12, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A peculiar but engaging story, with a surprising climax.
Jonathan Ashworth
Mar 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Twelve pages into this book and you realize two things: first, Siri Hustvedt has so many hooks that if this were an album you’d be singing along by the third time you heard it. Second, there’s a spiritual connection between this book and Sherwood Anderson’s odd masterpiece, Winesburg, Ohio, in both its small-townness and the entwined themes of identity and sexuality.

A little further into the book and you may also be thinking of Edward Hopper’s paintings of American loneliness. There are times wh
Dec 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's interesting to me that other reviews have discussed the notion of 'mystery' in this novel, as if this is the central core. I agree that there are mysterious things happening, but they seem to me to simply be the sum total of life in a small town where idiosyncrasy can often reign.

This novel is well written and thoughtful, it creates a series of slightly, but well drawn characters who bring and overall sense of truth to the story. Hustvedt's skill always seems to me to be foremost in her un
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Parhamer Book Club: December Pick: The Enchantment of Lily Dahl 1 1 Nov 21, 2017 11:13AM  
  • Mozart
  • Incidents in the Rue Laugier
  • Journey to the South: A Calabrian Homecoming (Italy series, #3)
  • Kvinderne på stranden
  • Missä kuljimme kerran
  • Kun luulit unohtaneesi
  • Ihana meri
  • Maaninkavaara
  • Conversation with Spinoza: A Cobweb Novel
  • På det fjärde ska det ske
  • At Lady Molly's (A Dance to the Music of Time, #4)
  • Auggie Wren's Christmas Story
  • The Last Days of Disco, with Cocktails at Petrossian Afterward
  • Ruma kreivitär
  • Helsinki 12
  • Veronica
  • Fireworks
  • Soft
Hustvedt was born in Northfield, Minnesota. Her father Lloyd Hustvedt was a professor of Scandinavian literature, and her mother Ester Vegan emigrated from Norway at the age of thirty. She holds a B.A. in history from St. Olaf College and a Ph.D. in English from Columbia University; her thesis on Charles Dickens was entitled Figures of Dust: A Reading of Our Mutual Friend.

Hustvedt has mainly made
More about Siri Hustvedt...