This is a complex, long, ambitious novel, set in 1980s New York (the setting is semi-mythological) but harking back to the Renaissance; written in a careful, beautiful prose; it is a sophisticated work with lots of flashbacks, alternative paths and hidden references, some erudite, others simply literary - dramatic and psychological. The book is about history, or perhaps rather, the magic in hidden, alternate history, and especially about the writing of a history that never was and yet existed in people's minds. It may confuse some readers, and it goes slowly.
I first came across this book, the first part of an ongoing tetralogy, in the late 1980s, then lost sight of it, and could not find it anywhere (it was out of print for many years). It was never far from my mind, even as (as a Renaissance historian) I read and discarded Francis Yates and Ramon llull and moved on towards other, less Neoplatonic threads. In the meanwhile I read Little, Big, and other books by John Crowley. When Daemonomania, volume three of the series, first came out, it was upsetting that Aegypt/The Solitudes remained unavailable. Now, finally, this nice paperback reprint has given me the pleasure of a long-awaited read. This is really one long book in four parts, to be read together.