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Original Essays | April 11, 2014

Paul Laudiero: IMG Shit Rough Draft

I was sitting in a British and Irish romantic drama class my last semester in college when the idea for Shit Rough Drafts hit me. I was working... Continue »
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What I Loved

What I Loved Cover




From What I Loved:

Yesterday, I found Violet's letters to Bill. They were hidden between the pages of one of his books and came tumbling out and fell to the floor. I had known about the letters for years, but neither Bill nor Violet had ever told me what was in them. What they did tell me was that minutes after reading the fifth and last letter, Bill changed his mind about his marriage to Lucille, walked out the door of the building on Greene Street, and headed straight for Violet's apartment in the East Village. When I held the letters in my hands, I felt they had the uncanny weight of things enchanted by stories that are told and retold and then told again. My eyes are bad now, and it took me a long time to read them, but in the end I managed to make out every word. When I put the letters down, I knew that I would start writing this book today.

Product Details

A Novel
Hustvedt, Siri
New York
Married people
Psychological fiction
New York
Loss (psychology)
Art historians
Domestic fiction
Edition Number:
1st ed.
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
8.3 x 5.45 x 1.03 in

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

What I Loved
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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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