Lily Dahl, the young heroine of Siri Hustvedt's riveting novel, The Enchantment of Lily Dahl, is a strong, beautiful and daring nineteen year old girl poised on the brink of womanhood. In the small town of Webster, Minnesota, Lily's life revolves around the Ideal Café. She lives above the café in a rented room and works there as a waitress. This is the stage Hustvedt sets for a bizarre cast of characters who frequent the café and populate Lily's life.
Weaving a fascinating spell of mystery and suspense, Hustvedt recounts the erotic adventures, unexpected friendships, and inexplicable acts of madness that usher Lily into womanhood. By skillfully mixing reality and dreams, fact and fiction, past and present, Hustvedt creates a powerful world not quite real, but altogether truthful.