It's official. I forgive them the pokey pacing, the often “lecturing down to uneducated masses” tone, and the never ending Princeton tour. The parts about the Hypnerotomachia, and the mystery as to what was hidden in the book — the who wrote it and why — was AWESOME. (The real Hypner. is coded, but this solution is fiction, though a great story nonetheless.) I would definitely give them another try if they write another book. They do have a facility with language that is simply beautiful. In fact, this book is like so many of the literary works I've had to read over the years — difficult, sometimes boring (can we say The Rainbow by D.H. Lawrence?), but ultimately worth the effort in the payoff that comes from having stuck with the text. I absolutely adore it when a book gets to the end and a light bulb goes on and I'm like, whoa, that was amazing (Absalom! Absalom! by Faulkner).
This is short, but I'm off to the beach in a few. I have a cold, believe it or not, but sitting in the sun feels good. I'll report later.