The devilishly playful, intellectually inspiring, emotionally involving new novel from Siri Hustvedt, longlisted for the Man Booker Prize.
The artist Harriet Burden, furious at the lack of attention paid her by the New York art world, conducts an experiment: she hides her identity behind three male fronts in a series of exhibitions. Their success seems to prove her point, but there's a sting in the tail - when she unmasks herself, not everyone believes her. Then her last collaborator meets a bizarre end.
In this mesmerising tour de force, Burden's story emerges after her death through a variety of sources, including her (not entirely reliable) journals and the testimonies of her children, lover and a dear friend. Each account is different, however, and the mysteries multiply.
I have told nearly everyone I love - and some random acquaintances - to stop whatever they are doing and read THE BLAZING WORLD. . . Hustvedt's novels have always been smart, accomplished, critically acclaimed but this one feels like a departure. There is more heat in it, more wildness; it seems to burst on to a whole other level of achievement and grace - Financial Times
Her prose is brilliant, furious, teeming with intelligence and life - an experiment in reception itself. - Literary Review
...there is something special about this book; THE BLAZING WORLD is an intellectual puzzle from the moment you pluck it from the bookshelf. Intricate, sensory and challenging, the book does in fact blaze. - The Big Issue, Australia
Fans of Hustvedt's bestselling WHAT I LOVED will recognise both the themes (art, identity, gender) and the author's showy brilliance. - Jennifer Byrne for Australian Women's Weekly
The rigorous and arresting BLAZING WORLD both demands and welcomes. While the novel gains richness in direct relation to its reader's fluency in art, literature, neuroscience and gender studies, Hustvedt's allegiance to the importance of the body alongside the mind causes it to throb with an array of love stories and uncanny mysteries. - The Saturday Age, Melbourne
THE BLAZING WORLD works best when Hustvedt gets the balance right and manages to shroud Burden in tantalising mystery rather than smother her in a fug of opacity. It is here that we can appreciate the novel as an intoxicating "anthology of voices'', an inventive portrait of the artist and a searing critique of the way we see and judge. - Weekend Australian
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.