I loved the first book of the trilogy and recommended it to pretty much everyone I know who reads serious literature and a fair number of people who might not. It is also the case that I was once a huge student of Italiant culture and lived in the house of some prominant leftist newspaper people as an exchange student in high-school. So, the events of this book speak to a deep (if somewhat cooled) passion of mine that other readers might or might not share. However, all the same, I found the second and third books altogether more difficult to read. While the writing is phenomenal in its minute psychological detail and insights into class and gender and how ideology gets used as a currency in social games, it is difficult and not always pleasant reading -- a slog at times-- as the inner-conflicts of the narrative become more intense and her personality less pleasant. I was never going to give up, but I didn't always find joy in this book. In short: read it, but save it for that moment in your life when you have the patience to deal with a literary friend who is difficult, conflicted, and at times even unlikeable.