Tag Archives: siri hustvedt

Memories of the Future by Siri Hustvedt

Memories of the Future Title: Memories of the Future
Author: Siri Hustvedt
Publisher: Sceptre
ISBN: 978-1473694415
Genre: Literary Fiction
Pages: 336
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4 stars

I have always loved reading Siri Hustvedt. She writes with an urgency and lucidity that is rare and extremely engaging. Most of the time, I feel her works are meta, and likely so given art is after all inspired by life, and that works the most when it comes to her works. Whether it is The Blazing World or The Sorrows of an American or even What I Loved, every book has a trace of her life and that is the connecting factor for the reader.

Memories of the Future is a novel about time, memory, desire, and obsession at the core of it. It is a novel about New York in the late 70s – forever dynamic, changing, and bursting at the seams. At the same time, it is a novel of the present – of the diary SH kept in the 70s and reads it now – recalling the time she lived next to Lucy, and what transpired then.

The technique of a story within a story isn’t new, but just the way Hustvedt writes about it is seamless and original. Her observations on memory and how time wraps itself around it in all its vulnerability is touching. The book is about a narrator and a very strong one at that. You may not even come across many characters, but you do get used to the writing, which keeps you engaged and wanting more.

Memories of the Future is the kind of book that has a range of opinions, thoughts, and memories. I had to go back and forth multiple times, but it was truly worth it. Madness and sanity have a wonderful balance as well. It is an extremely stimulating novel, by a very intelligent writer. The kind that is crisp and on point with most things. A novel not to be missed at all.

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The Summer Without Men by Siri Hustvedt

I whooped with joy when I received an Advanced Review Copy of “The Summer without Men”. There was nothing better I wanted to do at that time than just stretch myself on my bed and read the book. To devour it, to read it word by word and not miss out on anything. I loved “What I Loved” and was waiting to read something else by Ms. Hustvedt right after and yes I read this one.

What happens when out of the blue, your husband of thirty years asks you for a pause in your marriage? Yes literally calling it that – a pause. What do you do? How do you react? Mia Fredricksen, renowned poet and writer gets asked that by her husband and cracks up to begin with, and then decides to take the summer off and hibernate to the prairie town of her childhood. She rages, she fumes, she bemoans, she suffers silently to begin with and slowly and steadily she gets roped into the lives around her. From her aged mother and her friends to the young neighbor with her disastrous husband and kids to the puberty-hit girls in her poetry class.

Mia then begins to see things differently (Surprise! Surprise!) and while doing that she comes across problems bigger than her own. She learns to see people differently and also corresponds online with the anonymous and sometimes abusive Mr. Nobody. Though initially trapped in a cerebral solitude Mia opens up and in doing so, she lets in some much needed air in her life.

This is not a chick-lit book. This is pure writing and thankfully it does not take pages to describe what the characters are going through. I loved The Summer without Men because it is not pretentious nor does it claim to be a feminist-central book. The prose is crisp and hits home all the time while you are reading it. Chuckle! Laugh! Grin! Read this book and all these emotions will for sure come alive.

Summer without Men, The; Hustvedt, Siri; Picador; $14.00 – Releasing in March 2011

The Sorrows of an American by Siri Hustvedt

There is a lot of chat in Hustvedt’s new novel. Erik is a psychotherapist with some difficult clients, he’s just divorced, and is falling for the young single mum, Miranda, in the flat below.

His sister, Inga, was married to a famous writer, Max, who has recently died, and they chat about what it’s like to be in love with a writer and how you kind of fall in love with them through their writing.

And then there is Miranda’s ex, who is stalking her but using the surreptitious photos he takes in an art exhibition, which kind of makes it OK. And Inga is sort of being blackmailed by one of Max’s old lovers, which is distressing.

This all, of course, happens in New York – mostly in Brooklyn – as they each weigh in with intelligent theories on the nature of their own dreams and on the morality of their own stories. And the miracle is that Hustvedt manages to make her characters engaging and her novel absorbing rather than irritating; this examining of our inner lives is what she does so well and makes reading her feel like such an intimate, personal treat.

This is a short review for sure, however there is more to come. I read this book with great trepidation since I did not know what to expect from this writer. I had not read, “What I Loved” and had no clue about her other works. However after reading this one, I cannot wait to read more of what she has written and what is waiting to come. A gem of a book.