Not many highbrow writers of Oates's ilk, in my opinion, would put their credibility at stake with a storyline as wildly fanciful and Gothic as this. An evil curse wreaks havoc among early 20th century Princeton's high society - of which two bona fide US presidents and two famous authors - entailing sex, violence, murder and scandals galore.
To put it simply, it's Anne Rice-like events (Remember 'The Vampire Chronicles'? Add sex.) told in a William Faulkner-like voice (seriously, how has she not yet received a Nobel prize?) using Wilkie Collins-like methods (a legion of narrative voices, the main chronicler constantly pointing to his own meta-fictional quality).
It may be a bit convoluted and a bit long, yet it's also 700 pages of sheer genius!