I love it! It has a mystical element, but it can be explained, it doesn't flip and become unbelievable. It's a beautiful timeless story and has references to the icons Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley. We never find out what time the story is set in, but it's clear that Elvis and Marilyn are dead.
Lily Dahl lives in a small town in the middle of America, works in a café and is doing a bit of acting. She falls in love with an older visiting artist, who lives in the hotel opposite her room. He falls in love with her too, and he's not the only one. One of the café guests, Martin, whom Lily played with when she was little, seems almost obsessed with her. Lily thinks that he hides something and is determined to find out what. She confides in her older neighbour, Mabel, who also helps her with rehearsing the lines for the play she's in. (Martin is in the play as well and it makes you think about what's real and what's just an act.)
Hustvedt creates a very eerie, fairy tale like atmosphere and yet manages to keep it very real. Lily is strong-minded character who wants to find the truth no matter what. The small town life with its odd characters, like the Bodley Brothers, is well portrayed.