This was not a long book and it was not particularly poorly written, but it just wasn't compelling enough to move me forward in a reasonable fashion. I can emphasize with the main character (I too find most people tedious and keep myself aloof, I am good at being useful without having friends), but I didn't really like her. I was not really interested in her life and instead of finding the affair between her and Lazarus interesting I just thought it bordered on ridiculous. Clearly the novel is fantastical, but it wasn't beautiful or entertaining in the way that I expect fantasy to be.
I felt like Hoffman was reaching too far too hard with her fairy tale parallels, the star crossed lovers and then the neat tying up of loose ends with Ned's death and her reunion with Jack.
That said, I did like a few quotes. The first two have to do with the distinction between love and obsession:
"What is the difference between love and obsesssion? Didn't both make you stay up all night, wandering the streets, a victim of your own imagination, your own heartbeat? Didn't you fall into both, headfirst into quicksand? Wasn't every man in love a fool and every woman a slave?" "I thought perhaps I'd discovered the difference between love and obsession. Only one of them puts you in jeopardy."
"Feel lucky for what you have when you have it. Isn't that the point? Happily ever after doesn't mean happy forever."
"The story is always about searching for the truth, no matter what it might bring. Even when nothing was what it appeard to be, when everthing was hidden, there was a center not even I could run from: who I truly was, what I felt, what I was deep inside."
While not great literature (or even necessarily worth reading), this novel at least taps into a few of my favorite themes on finding happiness and peace within oneself.