I understand why people go crazy for this book, but it wasn't for me. It was interesting enough to keep me plodding through all 477 pages, even though I didn't really like the work until the action starts, in Part 7 "Strife", all the way down on page 357.Here is an example of why I didn't like this book, taken from Part 6 "Love Itself": I said: One thing about yourself that I think you don't appreciate is the complexity of why people tend to accept things you lay out for them as good ideas. Don't get mad, but in a way your lifework could be described as getting people to do things you regard as improvements, better for them. You have great powers of getting people to do things the way you want. Only partly is that because the things you come up with are sensible in themselves. The rest of it has to do with something benign about you, unusually so. You seem good. You seem unselfish. Even people who are really at loggerheads with you see it, although it may drive them even crazier against you when they do. Also you look counter to what you are, since you look more like an unemployed wrestler than anything else, which incidentally adds to your power. What you are operates cross-culturally, for some unknown reason. I may be trying to say that possibly the plenary is less important in a structural way than you think, an that it should sink or swim but you should hold back from using your powers to get it reinstated. What I want to feel is that you've divorced yourself from it. This is as I reconstruct it. By the end of it I was confused about what, really, I was trying to say, other than quite obviously declaring appreciation tantamount to the most abject love. His reaction was to say Light from the caves! This was a standby he used to greet solecisms or cant. I was overwhelmed with a desire to apologize, which I suppressed.Uh-huh. Picture that going on for 477 pages. I'm sure "Light from the caves!" is clever and all but COME ON. How are we supposed to like these people? Or at least care about what happens to them?The prose is interesting, especially if you have enough social sciences and humanities background to follow the references (I have some, but even though I majored in Anthropology and Philosophy, I am missing a lot of the Political Science I would have needed). But the discussions did not engage me on their own, and the relationship at the heart of the plot was lifeless. These characters were painfully unemotional. I didn't believe that the main character was in love with Nelson. Even though she writes that she was in love, to me she seemed to feel nothing toward him except curiosity.I did like how aware the main character was of her every impulse, and whether or not she could control it. I liked that she cared about her role in the house, how she thought about her relationship to Nelson in terms of what would be expected of her as a woman. I also liked that she found herself doing and saying things that she resented in herself, which I thought was realistic. I even liked the ending, which I also thought was realistic, right up until the last two lines, which seemed to undo all the work she had done up to that point (and if I hadn't just finished the book I would have finally abandoned it in frustration there).I didn't see the humour in the book that some people saw, and which was promised on the dust jacket. Was it in their silly little lovers' in-jokes? God those were nauseating.In the end, I think to love this book you have to love academia -- not the political power-mongering side, but the endless analysis and clever references and books you are expected to have read already and zillions of theories to know. That doesn't appeal to me, so even though this book is really, really smart, I just didn't enjoy it. It was too dry for me.