A dazzling collection of essays by the bestselling author of What I Loved - thought-provoking, engaging, illuminating reflections on what it means to be human
From the internationally bestselling author of What I Loved and The Summer Without Men, a dazzling collection of essays written with Siri Hustvedt's customary intelligence, wit and ability to convey complex ideas in a clear and lively way.
Divided into three sections - Living, which draws on Siri's own life; Thinking, on memory, emotion and the imagination; and Looking, on art and artists - the essays range across the humanities and science as Siri explores how we see, remember, feel and interact with others, what it means to sleep, dream and speak, and what we mean by 'self'. The combination offers a profound and fascinating insight into ourselves as thinking, feeling beings.
Her erudition, the sharp clarity of her thinking, the variety of her sources and the supple ways in which she weaves them into personal narrative, coupled with her fearlessness in the face of those aspects of the human condition which are of necessity ambiguous, infuse her work with a rare kind of quiet intellectual confidence...I'll be returning to these essays. - Melanie McGrath, Sunday Telegraph
richly intelligent insights on every page - George Pendle, Financial Times
Siri Hustvedt is best known as a novelist and her novels have received a deserved acclaim. But to my mind, she is even more to be admired as an essayist...there is something refreshingly straightforward about her style. It has the confidence born of complex but well digested thoughts and thus lacks the tendency to obfuscate that is the hallmark of the inferior thinker's style. - Salley Vikcers, Observer
...she is an inspiring guide to territory where both the humanities and the sciences can throw light on the ways in which we construct meaning in our lives. - Nick Rennison, Sunday Times, Culture
Hustvedt addresses a broad public without dumbing down her material... At once stimulating and warm-hearted, with sentences of drop-dead beauty and acuity on nearly every page. - Kirkus
Hustvedt's deep interest in art, psychology, and neuroscience shape her brilliantly insightful novels as well as her virtuoso essays...Mystery, fact, intelligence, and enchantment flourish here. - Booklist
exquisitely eloquent...You'll be by turns inspired, provoked, educated and enchanted. Her writing is scientifically precise and poetically elegant, and this intense compilation merits careful attention. It's a book you can return to time and time again. - Beatrice Hodgkin, Easy Living
These essays offer thoughts on locating morality in the brain, the origins of desire and who we are when we sleep...I suggest you take this book to your favourite corner, turn off the phone and allow yourself to be reminded of the pure pleasure of using your mind. - Clare Longrigg, Psychologies
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.