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Friday, September 30, 2011

What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt: A Collection of Praise For This Masterpiece Novel

What I Loved
Siri Hustvedt

Siri Hustvedt is one of those master story-teller whose works can only be described as enchanting. While the story has the grip and the capacity to transform you into a different world altogether, the characters will start creeping into your heart and in your life, haunting you for days to come, getting real with each word you devour, and pulling you with a fervour in their own lives.

The first work of Siri Hustvedt I happened to read was 'What I Loved', the second I read was 'A Plea For Eros' and next I want to read is 'The Blindfold.'

I am going to share here a collection of praise for the novel 'What I Loved' by Siri Hustvedt. Have a read and I am sure you will soon find yourself getting a copy and getting addicted:

'A genuinely disturbing urban thriller - there's violence, duplicity, murder and erotica - but it's also satisfyingly weighed down with the heft of marital and parental relationships, and, maybe most importantly, with a profound and intelligent dialogue about love. Most impressively of all perhaps, Hustvedt takes us deeply and convincingly into the psyches of all these people.....The intricacies of the relationships she depicts, the fragile sexual landscapes - whether comic and wobbly or romantically sweeping - snag at your heart... I can't remember the last time I finished a novel and truly believed I'd absorbed the taste and span of an artist's career as well as the pains and joys of 30 years of his sexual and emotional life, but this one convinced me I had.' - Julie Myerson, Guardian

'The leisurely opening, in which we come to know the characters so well, is a brilliant foil for the acceleration of the narrative drive in which the novel shifts gear from compelling right through to riveting.... Hustvedt's skill in the convincing narrative voice of an elderly man - never did the gender seem the least bit of a problem - is extraordinary... It is full of rich and potent themes - memory, truth, hysteria, eating disorders and transformations - but it's ultimately about interpretation... A novel that demands attention of its reader, and amply rewards it.' Lesley Glaister, Waterstone's Books Quarterly

'Siri Hustvedt's most ambitious, most rewarding novel. It mesmerizes, arouses, disturbs. Hustvedt is that rare artist, a writer of high intelligence, profound sensuality and a less easily definable capacity for which the only word I can find is wisdom.' Salman Rushdie

'Defiantly complex and frequently dazzling...With what seems like obvious enjoyment, (Hustvedt) creates an oeuvre for Bill. His range of work deepens and changes direction over time, leaving us with a real sense of the magpie tendencies of the creative mind, and exists against a convincing and often amusing rendering of the New York art scene in the 1970s and 1980s....Hustvedt's special skill is that we never escape the feeling that her intellectual hoops are being jumped through by real people. In that, she has pulled off a trick far more difficult than many contemporary novels admit: she has created a conceptually exciting work that demands we think, but which still allows us room to feel.' Alex Clark, Sunday Times

'A novel of such complexity and power that when you get to the end of it you feel the process of deciphering has only just begun.' Noonie Minogue, Times Literary Supplement

'(Siri Hustvedt) analyses the creative impulse, and discusses love and friendship, loss and endurance, giving weight to all these ingredients without using a badly chosen or superfluous word. This is a particularly rare feat in a narrative full of detailed descriptions of imaginary works of art....Reading this novel I grew intimate with its characters, joined in their conversations and wept for their misforrtunes' Jessica Mann, Sunday Telegraph

'Compassionate and gripping...the strengths of (the novel) lie in the characterisation and control of the plot, beautifully sustained...There is an almost Dickensian supporting cast, and Hustvedt is just as good at realising the eccentric and sometimes endearing minor characters as she is with the great themes of love, loss and grief that dominate her novel.....an ambitious, many-layered work, with big themes and big scope. We believe in her themes, though, because we believe in her characters and we believe in them because they are so securely set in the world they inhabit.' Honor Clerk, Spectator

'Brilliantly illustrates the gradually unfolding dramas that lie on the periphery of the creative act: families fragmented by wavering allegiances, mental illness and the fickle, bitchy nature of the art world....Imagine reading Josephine Hart's Damage with the benefit of actually caring for the characters. That's the trick that Hustvedt pulls off with considerable panache.' Christian House, Independent on Sunday

'Ferociously clever.....themes wind back and forth, crisscrossing, tangling the reader up in images and symbols, suggesting patterns and then shifting them. Hustvedt's intelligence is sharp and there are some wonderful observations.' Geraldine Bedell, Observer

'Every so often, a book comes along and bam!, you're floating at the 'rightness' of it. What I Loved is just such a novel.....The relationships are lovingly constructed out of gleaming prose. But there is real darkness, too, as madness and murder permeate their oyster-tight world and damage is irrevocably done. I've read it twice and I'm even thinking about a third perusal. That's how damn fine it is.' Elle

'A gripping intellectual read' Hugo Barnacle, New Statesman

'A highly unusual, vivid psychodrama, by turns moving and insightful....the cerabral and philosophical are explored fearlessly but never get in the way of a good story.' Sam Phipps, Glasgow Herald

'It's impossible to read this superbly assured work about friendship, betrayal and love, without weeping, because she manages so successfully to make you care about her characters and their disturbingly sad story.' Jackie McGlone, Scotsman

'Excellent.....Hustvedt is a serious, ambitious writer whose novels are intelligent, involving and engrossingly textured, like the highest class of thrillers.' Michael Thompson-Noel, Financial Times

'Extraordinary.....apart from her completely riveting plot and memorable characterisation, her novel is fascinating for her insights into the mechanics of the art world and the way artists disport themselves as well as their philosophies. The cool, clean lines of her prose are a disciplined delight. Her great skill though lies in the unravelling of her characters who react to stress and sadness in different and credible ways' Madeleine Keane, Sunday Independent

'This is unashamedly a novel of ides. That it never becomes dry is a tribute to Hustvedt's willingness to tackle the big themes - love, loss, how we peceive and interpret ourselves and others - in ways which are often moving and always absorving....(it) casts a beguiling spell....A striking achievement.' Kieron Corless, Time Out

'Hustvedt ranks among the finest American writers today...a great, ambitious work, both a novel of ideas and a novel of characters, in which not a single line seems extraneous. Consummately intellectual, and exploring themes as disparate as mental illness, eating disorders, erotica, drugs, murder and modern art, it is also intensely - at times achingly - moving.' Jennifer O'Connell, Sunday Business Post

'A dark, sexually charged and complex novel...Rich in detail and visual imagery, this is a book to slowly savour and unravel.' Eve

'What I Loved has a scope and an intelligence that mark her out as the finished article. Paul Auster, much to his chagrin no doubt, might soon become the guy who's married to Siri Hustvedt.' Arena

'Superb...What I Loved is a rare thing, a page turner written at full intellectual stretch, serious but witty, large-minded and morally engaged.' Janet Burroway, New York Times Book Review

'This richly rewarding novel has everything - a compelling and suspenseful plot peopled by feeling, thinking characters....(the) reader becomes deeply engaged.' Barbara Fisher, Boston Globe

'Convincing and consistently perceptive and intriguing...a highly accomplished and deeply absorbing novel.' Janet Chimonyo, Age, Australia

'An intelligent, very human book....a touching insight into the complexities of parenthood and the anguish of kids growing up. Ambitious and memorable.' Catherine Keenan, Sun-Herald, Austraila

'A satisfying lyrical whole that leaves you exhilarated by the sensual, elegant, unfussy prose...What I Loved is difficult to leave - the characters and ideas stay with you long after you have finished reading.' Marie Claire, Australia

'Energetic and rich....dense and breathtaking....(Hustvedt) succeeds in reconciling intellect and sensuality. A rare and beautiful novel.' l'Express

'Hustvedt succeeds by her own special magic, in making her fictional characters as lifelike as close relations...finishing the story is like waking from a dream in the course of which you have lived a hundred lives, changed sex, age and appearance. The miracle of the novel, in short, is that it offers an escape from real life while never ceasing to examine it.' le Fiagaro

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- Debolina Raja Gupta