Synopses & Reviews
The internationally acclaimed novelist Siri Hustvedt has also produced a growing body of nonfiction. She has published a book of essays on painting (Mysteries of the Rectangle) as well as an interdisciplinary investigation of a neurological disorder (The Shaking Woman or A History of My Nerves). She has given lectures on artists and theories of art at the Prado, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. In 2011, she delivered the thirty-ninth annual Freud Lecture in Vienna. Living, Thinking, Looking brings together thirty-two essays written between 2006 and 2011, in which the author culls insights from philosophy, neuroscience, psychology, psychoanalysis, and literature.The book is divided into three sections: the essays in Living draw directly from Hustvedts life; those in Thinking explore memory, emotion, and the imagination; and the pieces in Looking are about visual art. And yet, the same questions recur throughout the collection. How do we see, remember, and feel? How do we interact with other people? What does it mean to sleep, dream, and speak? What is "the self"? Hustvedts unique synthesis of knowledge from many fields reinvigorates the much-needed dialogue between the humanities and the sciences as it deepens our understanding of an age-old riddle: What does it mean to be human?
"Novelist and essayist Hustvedt (Mysteries of the Rectangle) gathers 32 pieces (most previously published), written over the past six years, that she says are linked by an abiding curiosity about 'what it means to be human.' A lifelong migraine sufferer, Hustvedt recounts a rare premigraine hallucination in which she watched with fascination and an amiable tenderness a miniature, pink version of Paul Bunyan and his ox, Babe, two legendary, oversized characters from her Minnesota childhood. In another piece, Hustvedt describes how, to research her novel The Sorrows of an American, narrated by a New York City psychoanalyst, she interviewed analysts, read countless memoirs of mental illness, taught writing classes to psychiatric patients, and thought of her narrator as her imaginary brother who worked 'at a job could imagine having had in another life.' Fascinated by the emotional power of the work of painter and sculptor Louise Bourgeois, Hustvedt describes how that artist's gift is taking viewers to 'strange and hidden places' in themselves, her oeuvre stirring up old pains and fears and echoing Hustvedt's own obsessions with rooms, dolls, missing limbs, mirrors, violence, order, and ambiguity. Hustvedt's essays are always perceptive, erudite, and also quite rarefied. Agent: Amanda Urban, ICM. (June)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
was born in 1955 in Northfield, Minnesota. She has a Ph.D. from Columbia University in English literature and is the internationally acclaimed author of five novels, The Sorrows of an American, What I Loved, The Enchantment of Lily Dahl, The Blindfold,
and The Summer Without Men,
as well as a growing body of nonfiction including, A Plea for Eros
and Mysteries of the Rectangle,
and an interdisciplinary investigation of the body and mind in The Shaking Woman or A History of My Nerves.
She has given lectures on artists and theories of art at the Prado, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. In 2011, she delivered the thirty-ninth annual Freud Lecture in Vienna.She lives in Brooklyn.