An interesting novel, although I think the widespread enthusiasm about it is more due to the unconventional topics of its narrative than to any sort of intrinsic literary merit. The symbolism of the parables is too transparent, and they are rather too naïvely implemented to be considered a more ironic comment on the heroine's own 'madness'. The author's own self-congratulatory comments in the 1991 introduction do little to dispel the general impression of this being an (inherently) selfish novel, although there are some sub-texts going against the grain there - in particular in the final chapter, where it is at least implicitly acknowledged that other people and one's community can, in fact, be helpful and have feelings of their own, and their existence is more than just a source of frustration (although I'm not sure the author herself is aware of this sub-text...). The novel does convey rather effectively the contradictions and vagaries of modernity though - and in my opinion, it's much more about issues of identity (in general), rather than any of its 'manifest' themes (i.e. sexuality or religion).