Well, it took me six months, but I finally made it all the way through Joyce Carol Oates' Bellefleur. Like most Oates novels, I liked it, but I'm not sure exactly what to make of it. It reminds me of One Hundred Years of Solitude in a lot of ways: dense, mysterious, sprawling, and full of characters that get carried off by giant vultures or disappear into harpsichords, ponds, and spare rooms. I especially liked this passage:
In a strange land where the sky has disappeared and the sun has gone dark and the rocky inhospitable soil beneath our feet has vanished, on the borders of Chymerie . . . on the borders of the deathly-dark lake . . . beneath the waters of the deathly-dark lake . . . the god of sleep, they say, has made his house. . .
The god of sleep, a corpulent god, a most greedy god, has made his house where the sun has no dominion, eclipsed by the brute matter of the earth. There, no man may know aright the point between the day and the night. In that place a still water abides . . . a still, lightless, bitter-cold water which runs upon the small stones and gives a great appetite for sleep.
And I loved Mahalaleel, and Bromwell, and Germaine the younger.