What I loved - Siri Hustvedt

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What I loved - Siri Hustvedt

Post by Graham on Tue Mar 27, 2018 9:33 pm

I cannot praise this novel highly enough. It is not what it seems. The first of three parts covers the early adult years of a handful of New York intellectuals and their children. In another author’s hands this would send me to sleep but Hustvedt is never less than absorbing. I could not initially put my finger on what she does that is different from say Foulds or Abrams. Like them Hustvedt can linger on physical detail and descriptions of inner turmoil but eventually I realised that here everything is important and builds towards the crux of the story. It is like a bread trail of crumbs that one-by-one become more blood-spattered. Their quirky domesticity lurches into tragedy in the second part and from here the unease expands until in the final section the merely sinister evolves into paranoia and life-threatening danger. It is a serious and learned book, but it has the pace of a thriller and although there are multiple romances it is decidedly not a feel-good book. It is a page-turner but at the same time, especially in the first section, I wanted to dwell with these people and for the story not to stop.

Maybe you want to know the story line. It would be difficult to describe it in any more detail without spoilers. Psychopathic personalities loom large and the world of the intellectual and the serious artist intersects with the low-life milieu you might associate with Andy Warhol and Lou Reed.

Hustved is my new favourite author.

Graham
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