This is a much slower book than I'm used to. There's no plot to speak of--or rather, there is, but the viewpoint character is oblivious to it and so as readers we get only glimpses in the margins of Hav's furious activity and rising ride of social change. For the narrator it's all long siestas, musing on landscape, obscure quotations, and quaint people whose lives aren't real to her. But of course they aren't real; they're fictional, just like the city that the narrator repeatedly reminds us, quite literally, is too good to be true, is everyone's fantasy. It's a book intensely aware of its own fictionality, in other words, which is something I find less often than I'd like.
And yet for all that, Hav comes across as beautiful, as full of vitality. As a place I'd like to visit. I can understand why so many people wrote to their travel agents asking for tickets, back when the book was first published. Morris grounds it so well in history, in place, in time. It's fictional, yes, but no more or less than any other city as described by an outsider. There's a sense that there's some core reality there, lurking just off the corner of the page.