A trailblazing and inspiring collection of essays on art, feminism, neuroscience, psychology by the internationally bestselling novelist Siri Hustvedt.
Internationally acclaimed as a novelist, Siri Hustvedt is also highly regarded as a writer of non-fiction whose insights are drawn from her broad knowledge in the arts, humanities, and sciences.
In this trilogy of works collected in a single volume, Hustvedt brings a feminist, interdisciplinary perspective to a range of subjects. Louise Bourgeois, Pablo Picasso, Susan Sontag and Knut Ove Knausgaard are among those who come under her scrutiny. In the book's central essay, she explores the intractable mind-body problem and in the third section, reflects on the mysteries of hysteria, synesthesia, memory, perception, and the philosophy of Soren Kierkegaard. With clarity, wit, and passion, she exposes gender bias, upends received ideas, and challenges her reader to think again.
A writer with an unusual blend of incisive intelligence, humour and imagination. There is a moving essay on the blurring of gender in Louise Bourgeois and a brilliantly comic analysis of Karl Ove Knausgaard . . . She is able to combine [a] personal perspective with erudite analysis and, as the personal perspective is at the forefront, she is always open to uncertainty, which she sees, rightly, as itself a political stance . . . as the complicated warnings of experts are decried and swaggering lies broadcast on the news, this kind of uncertainty matters more than ever . . . We are fortunate to have Hustvedt voicing doubt so intelligently. - Financial Times
It is obvious that hers is a great mind that is constantly exploring, searching, "becoming" . . . An impressive collection by a novelist who clearly loves the humanities, the sciences and the ancient art of storytelling. But Hustvedt is not only a writer. She is also a passionate reader and therein lies the secret of this book . . . Here is a great book that invites reading . . . not only to 'look at a woman writer looking at men looking at women', but also to look within, deep inside the recesses of our minds, so as to recognise the fascinating complexity but also the heartbreaking fragility of human existence. - Observer
Richly explored . . . and, when art is the subject, touchingly personal . . . It's hard to overstate the pleasure and the comfort that such demystification provides . . . it does indeed make the world feel larger, more expansive, more alive to the touch - New York Times Book Review
Few writers eviscerate bias and flawed logic as elegantly and ruthlessly as Hustvedt . . . she expertly flays assertions about biological and psychological sex differences . . . Hustvedt does not resolve her many questions, but her exhilarating conclusion testifies to the virtues of doubt . . . Her work is cerebral but also warm, deeply felt. - Washington Post
[Hustvedt] impresses as a writer of blazing intelligence and curiosity . . . This is fertile and fascinating territory for scientists and humanists alike. - Prospect
[An] erudite collection . . . The book conveys the wide range of Hustvedt's reading as she focuses on the interstices between people; between disciplines; and between concepts such as art and science, truth and fiction, feeling and perception. The research is sound and the scholarship engaging, and the exacting prose turns humorous and almost warm when Hustvedt incorporates her personal reflections - Publishers Weekly
A wide-ranging, irreverent, and absorbing meditation on thinking, knowing, and being - Kirkus Reviews
Siri Hustvedt's first novel, The Blindfold, was published by Sceptre in 1993. Since then she has published The Enchantment of Lily Dahl, What I Loved, The Sorrows of an American, The Summer Without Men and The Blazing World, which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2014 and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction. She is also the author of the poetry collection Reading To You, and four collections of essays -Yonder, Mysteries of the Rectangle: Essays on Painting, A Plea for Eros and Living, Thinking, Looking, as well as the memoir The Shaking Woman or A History of My Nerves.
Born in Minnesota, Siri Hustvedt now lives in Brooklyn, New York. She has a PhD in English from Columbia University and in 2012 was awarded the International Gabarron Prize for Thought and Humanities.
She delivered the Schelling Lecture in Aesthetics in Munich in 2010, the Freud Lecture in Vienna in 2011 and the opening keynote at the conference to mark Kierkegaard's 200th anniversary in Copenhagen in 2013, while her latest honorary doctorate is from the University of Gutenburg in Germany. She is also Lecturer in Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College and has written on art for the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph and several exhibition catalogues.