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What I Loved

What I Loved Cover

 

Staff Pick

Poignant and erotic, this sumptuous novel is Hustvedt's best yet.
Recommended by Donna, Powells.com

Review-A-Day

"In the marvelous and gripping first third of Siri Hustvedt's fifth book, an academic named Leo Hertzberg recounts the beginning years of his, and his wife Erica's, burgeoning friendship with a brilliant painter and his wife (and the painter's girlfriend). This is intelligent and full-hearted stuff, and What I Loved seems to be shaping up to be a rare accomplishment — a thrilling novel of ideas." Adrienne Miller, Esquire (read the entire Esquire review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A powerful and heartbreaking novel that chronicles the epic story of two families, two sons, and two marriages

What I Loved begins in New York in 1975, when art historian Leo Hertzberg discovers an extraordinary painting by an unknown artist in a SoHo gallery. He buys the work; tracks down the artist, Bill Wechsler; and the two men embark on a life-long friendship.

Leo's story, which spans twenty-five years, follows the evolution of the growing involvement between his family and Bill's-an intricate constellation of attachments that includes the two men; their wives, Erica and Violet; and their children, Matthew and Mark. The families live in the same building in New York, share a house in Vermont during the summer, keep up a lively exchange of thoughts and ideas, and find themselves permanently altered by one another. Over the years, they not only enjoy love but endure loss-in one case sudden, incapacitating loss; in another, a different kind, one that is hidden and slow-growing, and which insidiously erodes the fabric of their lives.

Intimate in tone and seductive in its complexity, the novel moves seamlessly from inner worlds to outer worlds, from the deeply private to the public, from physical infirmity to cultural illness. Part family novel, part psychological thriller, What I Loved is a beautifully written exploration of love, loss, and betrayal-and of a man's attempt to make sense of the world and go on living.

Siri Hustvedt is the author of two previous novels, The Blindfold and The Enchantment of Lily Dahl . She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, Paul Auster.

A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year

What I Loved begins in New York in 1975, when art historian Leo Hertzberg discovers an extraordinary painting by an unknown artist in a SoHo gallery. He buys the work and tracks down the artist, Bill Wechsler, and the two men embark on a lifelong friendship.

Leo's story, which spans twenty-five years, follows the evolution of the growing involvement between his family and Bill's--an intricate constellation of attachments that includes the two men, their wives, Erica and Violet, and their children, Matthew and Mark. The families live in the same building in New York, share a house in Vermont during the summer, keep up a lively exchange of thoughts and ideas, and find themselves permanently altered by one another. Over the years, they not only enjoy love but endure loss--in one case, sudden, incapacitating loss; in another a different kind, one that is hidden and slow growing, and which insidiously erodes the fabric of their lives.

Intimate in tone, seductive in its complexity, the novel moves seamlessly from inner worlds to outer worlds, from the deeply private to the public, from physical infirmity to cultural illness. Part family novel, part psychological thriller, What I Loved is an exploration of love, loss, and betrayal--and a man's attempt to make sense of the world and go on living.

What I Loved is Siri Hustvedt's most ambitious, most rewarding novel. It mesmerizes, rouses, disturbs. Hustvedt is that rare artist, a writer of high intelligence, profound sensuality and a less easily definable capacity for which the only word I can find is wisdom.--Salman Rushdie

In her third novel, Hustvedt, a sophisticated and alluring writer drawn to the psyche's most convoluted passageways, co-opts New York's competitive and faddish art world for its symbol-laden milieu. Leo Hertzberg, a thoughtful art historian, narrates a measured and mesmerizing tale of passion and tragedy that spans 20 years and involves his wife, Erica, a literary scholar . . . By wedding the ordinary torments of family life with the heightened sensibilities of artists and a criminal grotesqueness, Hustvedt ponders the dark side of inheritance and creativity and the crushing burdens of love.--Booklist (starred review)

The ardent exchange of ideas underlies all manner of passionate action in Hustvedt's third novel (after The Enchantment of Lily Dahl), a dark tale of two intertwined New York families . . . So solid and complex are Hustvedt's characters that the change in pace is effortlessly effected--the plot developments are the natural extension of the author's meticulous examination of relationships and motives . . . A breakout work for Hustvedt.--Publishers Weekly

Review:

"What I Loved is Siri Hustvedt's most ambitious, most rewarding novel. It mesmerizes, rouses, disturbs. Hustvedt is that rare artist, a writer of high intelligence, profound sensuality and a less easily definable capacity for which the only word I can find is wisdom." Salman Rushdie

Review:

"So solid and complex are Hustvedt's characters that the change in pace is effortlessly effected — the plot developments are the natural extension of the author's meticulous examination of relationships and motives....[A] gripping, seductive novel, a breakout work for Hustvedt." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"Hustvedt is an accomplished art critic and essayist, and her knowledge is put to good narrative use both in vivid portraiture and in her depiction of 'the vanities, corruptions, cruelties, foibles, fortunes and falls of New York's art world.' But her real canvas is philosophical, and here she explores the nature of identity in a structure of crystalline complexity." Janet Burroway, New York Times Book Review

Review:

"A writer of eloquent and vivid disposition." Don DeLillo

Review:

"Hustvedt beautifully captures the devastation of such loss as she immerses the reader in the lives of two families who, hobbled by their shared wounds, desperately search for salvation in the accomplished world of art and intellectual brilliance in New York City. Highly recommended." Beth E. Andersen, Library Journal

Review:

"An impressive new talent....Relationships, like everything else in Hustvedt's world, are lively, unpredictable, full of mysterious emotion: the dark side of everyday life." Time

Review:

"[Hustvedt] succeeds in evoking her self-absorbed characters' lives with startling sympathy and nuance...while demonstrating a depth of emotion not evinced by her earlier fiction. The second half of the novel, however, devolves into a hokey thriller....an unfortunate development for a book that got off to such a promising start." Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

Synopsis:

What I Loved begins in New York in 1975, when art historian Leo Hertzberg discovers an extraordinary painting by an unknown artist in a SoHo gallery. He buys the work; tracks down the artist, Bill Wechsler; and the two men embark on a life-long friendship. Leo's story, which spans twenty-five years, follows the growing involvement between his family and Bill's--an intricate constellation of attachments that includes the two men, their wives, Erica and Violet, and their sons, Matthew and Mark.

The families live in the same New York apartment building, rent a house together in the summers and keep up a lively exchange of ideas about life and art, but the bonds between them are tested, first by sudden tragedy, and then by a monstrous duplicity that slowly comes to the surface. A beautifully written novel that combines the intimacy of a family saga with the suspense of a thriller, What I Loved is a deeply moving story about art, love, loss, and betrayal.

About the Author

Siri Hustvedt is the author of two previous novels, The Blindfold and The Enchantment of Lily Dahl (0-8050-5590-8). She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, Paul Auster.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780805071702
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Hustvedt, Siri
Publisher:
Picador
Location:
New York
Subject:
General
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Friendship
Subject:
Married people
Subject:
Psychological fiction
Subject:
Vermont
Subject:
Painters
Subject:
New York
Subject:
Loss (psychology)
Subject:
Art historians
Subject:
Domestic fiction
Subject:
Loss
Subject:
Psychological
Edition Number:
1st ed.
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series Volume:
107-419
Publication Date:
20040301
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
8.3 x 5.45 x 1.03 in

Related Subjects


Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

What I Loved
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 384 pages Henry Holt & Company - English 9780805071702 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Poignant and erotic, this sumptuous novel is Hustvedt's best yet.

"Review A Day" by , "In the marvelous and gripping first third of Siri Hustvedt's fifth book, an academic named Leo Hertzberg recounts the beginning years of his, and his wife Erica's, burgeoning friendship with a brilliant painter and his wife (and the painter's girlfriend). This is intelligent and full-hearted stuff, and What I Loved seems to be shaping up to be a rare accomplishment — a thrilling novel of ideas." (read the entire Esquire review)
"Review" by , "What I Loved is Siri Hustvedt's most ambitious, most rewarding novel. It mesmerizes, rouses, disturbs. Hustvedt is that rare artist, a writer of high intelligence, profound sensuality and a less easily definable capacity for which the only word I can find is wisdom."
"Review" by , "So solid and complex are Hustvedt's characters that the change in pace is effortlessly effected — the plot developments are the natural extension of the author's meticulous examination of relationships and motives....[A] gripping, seductive novel, a breakout work for Hustvedt."
"Review" by , "Hustvedt is an accomplished art critic and essayist, and her knowledge is put to good narrative use both in vivid portraiture and in her depiction of 'the vanities, corruptions, cruelties, foibles, fortunes and falls of New York's art world.' But her real canvas is philosophical, and here she explores the nature of identity in a structure of crystalline complexity."
"Review" by , "A writer of eloquent and vivid disposition."
"Review" by , "Hustvedt beautifully captures the devastation of such loss as she immerses the reader in the lives of two families who, hobbled by their shared wounds, desperately search for salvation in the accomplished world of art and intellectual brilliance in New York City. Highly recommended."
"Review" by , "An impressive new talent....Relationships, like everything else in Hustvedt's world, are lively, unpredictable, full of mysterious emotion: the dark side of everyday life."
"Review" by , "[Hustvedt] succeeds in evoking her self-absorbed characters' lives with startling sympathy and nuance...while demonstrating a depth of emotion not evinced by her earlier fiction. The second half of the novel, however, devolves into a hokey thriller....an unfortunate development for a book that got off to such a promising start."
"Synopsis" by ,
What I Loved begins in New York in 1975, when art historian Leo Hertzberg discovers an extraordinary painting by an unknown artist in a SoHo gallery. He buys the work; tracks down the artist, Bill Wechsler; and the two men embark on a life-long friendship. Leo's story, which spans twenty-five years, follows the growing involvement between his family and Bill's--an intricate constellation of attachments that includes the two men, their wives, Erica and Violet, and their sons, Matthew and Mark.

The families live in the same New York apartment building, rent a house together in the summers and keep up a lively exchange of ideas about life and art, but the bonds between them are tested, first by sudden tragedy, and then by a monstrous duplicity that slowly comes to the surface. A beautifully written novel that combines the intimacy of a family saga with the suspense of a thriller, What I Loved is a deeply moving story about art, love, loss, and betrayal.

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