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Book Title: What I Loved|
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 7.17 MB
ISBN 13: 9780340682388
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Loaded: 1066 times
Reader ratings: 4.1
The author of the book: Siri Hustvedt
Edition: Sceptre (Hodder and Stoughton)
Date of issue: 2003
Read full description of the books:
I have rarely read a novel of such intensity. And it touches on so much: the art world as well as art itself, relationships of many kinds, family, love, loss, psychology and the outsider, the world that is New York City, personas......much more that I'm forgetting (or avoiding for spoilers sake). But then is is titled "What I Loved" and it lives up to it's title.
In addition to being one of the most intense reading experiences, in many ways this has been one of the most unusual. At times I felt I was reading, not a novel, but a memoir, the actual life story of an aging art historian and university professor looking back on who and what had figured prominently in his life---what he had loved.
The story takes place in the art and university worlds of New York City, but it is not necessary,in my opinion, to be a part of them to become engaged in Leo's life and story. His story of finding a work of art he likes, the artist who becomes his true friend; two families whose lives intermingle over decades.
The art world is a large part of this story and descriptions of various works of art can occasionally become long, somewhat rambling sidetracks. But these sidetracks always have connections to the central story if you are patient. Hustvedt also portrays the less savory side of the art world but this is once again through those many aspects of "what I loved."
And supporting all of the story is masterful prose and excellent timing of presentation. The pacing and control, emotions--everything struck me as perfectly done. Hustvedt had me in the palm of her hand. (Even a section that was a bit over the top was over the top in just the right way.)
I'm trying to be careful not to come close to any spoilers in this review which could dampen the emotional impact of this novel for other readers. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who feels a spark of interest in a book set in this world, an arrestingly written look back on a life.
As an addendum, I realize that I neglected to say what may (or may not) be obvious. I intend to continue reading the author's works.
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Read information about the authorHustvedt was born in Northfield, Minnesota. Her father Lloyd Hustvedt was a professor of Scandinavian literature, and her mother Ester Vegan emigrated from Norway at the age of thirty. She holds a B.A. in history from St. Olaf College and a Ph.D. in English from Columbia University; her thesis on Charles Dickens was entitled Figures of Dust: A Reading of Our Mutual Friend.
Hustvedt has mainly made her name as a novelist, but she has also produced a book of poetry, and has had short stories and essays on various subjects published in (among others) The Art of the Essay, 1999, The Best American Short Stories 1990 and 1991, The Paris Review, Yale Review, and Modern Painters.
Like her husband Paul Auster, Hustvedt employs a use of repetitive themes or symbols throughout her work. Most notably the use of certain types of voyeurism, often linking objects of the dead to characters who are relative strangers to the deceased characters (most notable in various facits in her novels The Blindfold and The Enchantment of Lily Dahl) and the exploration of identity. She has also written essays on art history and theory (see "Essay collections") and painting and painters often appear in her fiction, most notably, perhaps, in her novel, What I Loved.
She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband, writer Paul Auster, and their daughter, singer and actress Sophie Auster.
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