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How Should a Person Be?: A Novel from Life

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How Should a Person Be?: A Novel from Life Cover

ISBN13: 9780805094725
ISBN10: 0805094725
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Fresh from a failed marriage and unable to complete a feminist play she's been commissioned to write, Sheila, a twentysomething artist, is floundering. How can she write a play about women when everything she's learned about herself is from the men in her life who "wanted to teach her something"? How can she even live in the world without knowing how to be? So when Margaux, a talented painter, and Israel, a sexy and depraved artist, come into her life, Sheila plunges into a life experiment, treating them as specimens in an investigation about how to live and create. Perhaps in borrowing their best qualities, she can regain her footing in art and in life.

Previously published in Canada to terrific acclaim, How Should a Person Be? brilliantly fuses highbrow with lowbrow into a compulsive read that's like "spending a day with your new best friend" (Bookforum). What begins as curiosity about how to live well, in Sheila Heti's hands becomes an irresistible torn-from-life novel, crafted with transcribed dialogues, along with fiction, nonfiction, e-mails, and more, exploring the eternal questions of why we connect, whom we desire, and how a person should be.

Review:

"With a quirky mixture of e-mails, transcribed conversations, and prose, frequent Believer contributor Heti (2004's The Middle Stories) examines her titular question by emphasizing that, like life itself, the story of protagonist Sheila; her degenerate artist boyfriend, Israel; and her best friend, Margaux, doesn't always make perfect sense. After she leaves her husband, Sheila — an aspiring Toronto playwright by night and hair salon employee by day — looks to her friends and the world at large to determine how to be. Acts divided into chapters interspersed with conversations transcribed to read like plays follow Sheila from home to New York to Atlantic City in her search for clarity. Autobiographical elements abound: like Heti's metafictional protagonist, the author studied playwriting and lives in Toronto. Heti has an artist friend named Margaux with whom she has collaborated and to whom she dedicates this novel. Original, contemplative, and often tangential, this is an unorthodox compilation of colorful characters, friendship, and sex that provides an unusual answer to Heti's question. Agent: Jim Rutman, Sterling Lord Literistic. (June)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review:

"A new kind of book and new kind of person. A book that risks everything — shatters every rule we women try to follow in order to be taken seriously — and thus is nothing less than groundbreaking: in form, sexually, relationally and as a major literary work. With this complex, artfully messy and hilarious novel, Heti has done the rare and generous thing of creating more room for the rest of us. This is how a person should be." Miranda July, author of No One Belongs Here More Than You and It Chooses You

Review:

"Oh crap. I dont know how to begin talking about Sheila Heti or how good she is. People will say How Should A Person Be? is reminiscent of Patti Smith's Just Kids or Ann Patchett's Truth and Beauty and both of these things will be true. But I am still reeling from the originality of this novel. There are passages here so striking, to read them is to be punched in the heart." Sloane Crosley, author of How Did You Get This Number

Review:

"A seriously strange but funny plunge into the quest for authenticity." Margaret Atwood

Review:

"Utterly beguiling: blunt, charming, funny, and smart. Heti subtly weaves together ideas about sex, femininity and artistic ambition. Reading this genre-defying book was pure pleasure." David Shields, author of Reality Hunger

Review:

"The books form is fluid and unpredictable... [and] the architecture gives the prose a circular, easy feeling, even though Heti is taking a hard look at what makes life meaningful and how one doesnt end up loveless and lost. It is book peopled by twenty-somethings but works easily as a manual for anyone who happens to have run into a spiritual wall." Sasha Frere-Jones, The Paris Review

Review:

"Sheila Hetis novel-from-life, How Should a Person Be?, was published in Canada in 2010, but won't be out in the US until next June. Watch for it — its great." Chad Harbach, author of The Art of Fielding

Review:

"Original, contemplative, and often tangential, this is an unorthodox compilation of colorful characters, friendship, and sex that provides an unusual answer to Hetis [titular] question." Publishers Weekly

Synopsis:

An "unforgettable," bawdy, genre-busting novel of friendship, sex, and love in the new millennium: a portrait of the artist as a young woman and a delicious combination of pop and art.

About the Author

Sheila Heti is the author of several books of fiction, including The Middle Stories and Ticknor; and an essay collection written with Misha Glouberman, The Chairs Are Where the People Go. Her writing has been translated into ten languages and her work has appeared in The New York Times, Bookforum, McSweeney's, n+1, The Guardian, and other places. She works as interviews editor at The Believer magazine and lives in Toronto.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 4 comments:

Lea Anna, March 19, 2013 (view all comments by Lea Anna)
Heti has a unique voice and I had a hard time putting this book down. Her characters were interesting and raw. I enjoyed reading it.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(3 of 6 readers found this comment helpful)
emilyj, January 30, 2013 (view all comments by emilyj)
This woman is peeled all the way back. I was immediately taken with the first paragraph, which admits how hard she looks at everyone else to figure out how she should behave. Every page is astonishing; I've never read anything like it. She is so embarrassingly, excruciatingly, fascinatingly honest. Her writing is stripped of the kind of circuitous language so commonly used to obscure judgements of ourselves and others.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(3 of 6 readers found this comment helpful)
David Naimon, January 1, 2013 (view all comments by David Naimon)
Sheila Heti's How Should A Person Be? has stuck with me more than any other book written in 2012. It made me laugh, it exasperated me, it turned me on, it turned me off but most of all it made me think.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(3 of 6 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 4 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780805094725
Author:
Heti, Sheila
Publisher:
Henry Holt & Company
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20120631
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in

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Related Subjects


Featured Titles » General
Featured Titles » Literature
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Contemporary Women
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Sale Books
How Should a Person Be?: A Novel from Life Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$10.50 In Stock
Product details 320 pages Henry Holt & Company - English 9780805094725 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "With a quirky mixture of e-mails, transcribed conversations, and prose, frequent Believer contributor Heti (2004's The Middle Stories) examines her titular question by emphasizing that, like life itself, the story of protagonist Sheila; her degenerate artist boyfriend, Israel; and her best friend, Margaux, doesn't always make perfect sense. After she leaves her husband, Sheila — an aspiring Toronto playwright by night and hair salon employee by day — looks to her friends and the world at large to determine how to be. Acts divided into chapters interspersed with conversations transcribed to read like plays follow Sheila from home to New York to Atlantic City in her search for clarity. Autobiographical elements abound: like Heti's metafictional protagonist, the author studied playwriting and lives in Toronto. Heti has an artist friend named Margaux with whom she has collaborated and to whom she dedicates this novel. Original, contemplative, and often tangential, this is an unorthodox compilation of colorful characters, friendship, and sex that provides an unusual answer to Heti's question. Agent: Jim Rutman, Sterling Lord Literistic. (June)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "A new kind of book and new kind of person. A book that risks everything — shatters every rule we women try to follow in order to be taken seriously — and thus is nothing less than groundbreaking: in form, sexually, relationally and as a major literary work. With this complex, artfully messy and hilarious novel, Heti has done the rare and generous thing of creating more room for the rest of us. This is how a person should be."
"Review" by , "Oh crap. I dont know how to begin talking about Sheila Heti or how good she is. People will say How Should A Person Be? is reminiscent of Patti Smith's Just Kids or Ann Patchett's Truth and Beauty and both of these things will be true. But I am still reeling from the originality of this novel. There are passages here so striking, to read them is to be punched in the heart."
"Review" by , "A seriously strange but funny plunge into the quest for authenticity."
"Review" by , "Utterly beguiling: blunt, charming, funny, and smart. Heti subtly weaves together ideas about sex, femininity and artistic ambition. Reading this genre-defying book was pure pleasure."
"Review" by , "The books form is fluid and unpredictable... [and] the architecture gives the prose a circular, easy feeling, even though Heti is taking a hard look at what makes life meaningful and how one doesnt end up loveless and lost. It is book peopled by twenty-somethings but works easily as a manual for anyone who happens to have run into a spiritual wall."
"Review" by , "Sheila Hetis novel-from-life, How Should a Person Be?, was published in Canada in 2010, but won't be out in the US until next June. Watch for it — its great."
"Review" by , "Original, contemplative, and often tangential, this is an unorthodox compilation of colorful characters, friendship, and sex that provides an unusual answer to Hetis [titular] question."
"Synopsis" by , An "unforgettable," bawdy, genre-busting novel of friendship, sex, and love in the new millennium: a portrait of the artist as a young woman and a delicious combination of pop and art.
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