Siri Hustvedt - The Blazing World - Hodder & Stoughton

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    • ISBN:9781444779660
    • Publication date:02 Mar 2015
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    • ISBN:9781444783254
    • Publication date:13 Mar 2014

The Blazing World

By Siri Hustvedt

  • Hardback
  • £18.99

LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2014

Artist Harriet Burden, consumed by fury at the lack of recognition she has received from the New York art establishment, embarks on an experiment: she hides her identity behind three male fronts who exhibit her work as their own. And yet, even after she has unmasked herself, there are those who refuse to believe she is the woman behind the men.

Presented as a collection of texts compiled by a scholar years after Burden's death, the story unfolds through extracts from her notebooks, reviews and articles, as well as testimonies from her children, her lover, a dear friend, and others more distantly connected to her. Each account is different, however, and the mysteries multiply. One thing is clear: Burden's involvement with the last of her 'masks' turned into a dangerous psychological game that ended with the man's bizarre death.

This is a polyphonic tour de force from the internationally acclaimed author of What I Loved, an intricately conceived, diabolical puzzle that explores the way prejudice, fame, money and desire influence our perceptions of one another. Emotionally intense, intellectually rigorous, ironic and playful, The Blazing World is as gripping as it is thought-provoking.

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  • ISBN: 9781444779646
  • Publication date: 13 Mar 2014
  • Page count: 384
  • Imprint: Sceptre
I have told nearly everyone I love - and some random acquaintances - to stop whatever they are doing and read [Hustvedt's] new novel . . . The Blazing World is the playful, ebullient, brainy story of Harriet "Harry" Burden, an artist in her early sixties . . . The book is clearly a feminist undertaking but joyously, unpredictably so. Hustvedt eschews all feminist cliché. She throws herself into rich ambiguities . . . 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 . . . the book will blaze through the world. — Katie Roiphe, Financial Times
This novel is like a palimpsest, built from many paper-tissue thin layers, some more transparent than others, and told through many voices, put together so cleverly it is not clear where the lines are between fact and fiction, let alone between the fictions within the fiction . . . Siri Hustvedt has created a complex world of play and interplay. This novel is a puzzle, a mystery, a dance, filled with intrigue, a truly wonderful intellectual work that makes you think and laugh and tickles the brain. — Victoria Moore, Daily Mail
Harry is a lovable, maddening whirlwind . . . The fury is brilliantly done, and so is the love affair Harry embarks on with a fat failed poet . . . Hustvedt writes with a cool precision that can give her work a blistering power . . . The Blazing World is a dazzling novel, the kind that makes you cry (or nearly cry) as well as think. — Christina Patterson, The Sunday Times
There is a fair amount of anger in the book: feminist anger, but also disdain for journalists, for the art industry, for a gendered world that ignores women like Harriet and rewards men like her husband . . . It might have become shrill in the hands of a lesser writer. As it is, it is at once a story of a privileged Upper East type who bleeds the wounds of Western liberal feminism, and also the universal, deeply affecting story of overshadowed women who are made - or make themselves - small, however big their ambition . . . The Blazing World is a profound and deeply serious book on many levels, but it is most entertaining in its critique of the New York art scene - its vanities, double standards, blind-spots . . . [A novel of] immense soulfulness and wisdom — Arifa Akbar, Independent
The richness and playfulness of the novel is down to the way it is structured . . . What is remarkable is the way Hustvedt manages to take her range of intellectual interests and this ostensibly complex format and forge a gripping narrative. — Duncan White, Daily Telegraph
It is an exuberantly clever piece of work. Fascinated by disguise, play-acting and ventriloquism, it lures its readers into a maze of characters, viewpoints and apparently persuasive arguments - then insists, refreshingly, that they think their way out . . . There's a central mystery to unravel in The Blazing World, but its real pleasures come from Hustvedt's startling talent for voice and register . . . the narrative becomes a brilliant catfight of dogmas and orthodoxies . . . a novel that gloriously lives up to its title, one blazing with energy and thought. — Tim Martin, The Times
Hustvedt offers a slickly written multiplicity of perspectives . . . The Blazing World ramps up thrillingly as it becomes apparent that Harriet's final collaboration has taken a sinister turn . . . Densely brilliant, but terrifyingly clever . . . But you don't need a PhD in Kierkegaard to enjoy Hustvedt's writing, and it's a pleasure to feel your brain whirring as it forges links and finds the cracks across differing accounts . . . Hustvedt's text is carefully, impressively constructed: she's as convincing in each fictional voice as Harriet is in her masks. — Holly Williams, Independent on Sunday
Both intellectually and emotionally gripping . . . the generosity of the storytelling leads to full and often affecting backstories for all the main characters . . . [it] feels like one of those novels in which a well-established author triumphantly sums up, and possibly even surpasses, everything they've done before. — James Walton, Spectator
Even by Siri Hustvedt's extremely high standards, The Blazing World is an extraordinary book . . . Hustvedt juggles the many voices and many truths masterfully, drawing the reader into an intricate and a puzzling web . . . The precision of the language makes each detail jewel-like and tangible. — Clare Heal, Sunday Express
Her prose is brilliant, furious, teeming with intelligence and life - an experiment in reception itself. — Literary Review
Sceptre

The Delusions of Certainty

Siri Hustvedt
Authors:
Siri Hustvedt

Prizewinning novelist, feminist, and scholar Siri Hustvedt turns her brilliant and critical eye toward the metaphysical issues of neuropsychology in this lauded, standalone volume. Originally published in her collection A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women, The Delusions of Certainty exposes how the age-old, unresolved mind-body problem has shaped - and often distorted and confused - contemporary thought in neuroscience, psychiatry, genetics, artificial intelligence, and evolutionary psychology.

Sceptre

A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women

Siri Hustvedt
Authors:
Siri Hustvedt

As well as being a prize-winning, bestselling novelist, Siri Hustvedt is widely regarded as a leading thinker in the fields of neurology, feminism, art criticism and philosophy. She believes passionately that art and science are too often kept separate and that conversations across disciplines are vital to increasing our knowledge of the human mind and body, how they connect and how we think, feel and see. The essays in this volume - all written between 2011 and 2015 - are in three parts. A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women brings together penetrating pieces on particular artists and writers such as Picasso, Kiefer and Susan Sontag as well as essays investigating the biases that affect how we judge art, literature, and the world in general. The Delusions of Certainty is an essay about the mind/body problem, showing how this age-old philosophical puzzle has shaped contemporary debates on many subjects and how every discipline is coloured by what lies beyond argument-desire, belief, and the imagination. The essays in the final section, What Are We? Lectures on the Human Condition, tackle such elusive neurological disorders as synesthesia and hysteria. Drawing on research in sociology, neurobiology, history, genetics, statistics, psychology and psychiatry, this section also contains a profound consideration of suicide and a towering reconsideration of Kierkegaard. Together they form an extremely stimulating, thoughtful, wide-ranging exploration of some of the fundamental questions about human beings and the human condition, delivered with Siri Hustvedt's customary lucidity, vivacity and infectiously questioning intelligence.(P)2016 Hodder & Stoughton

Sceptre

The Blindfold

Siri Hustvedt
Authors:
Siri Hustvedt

Iris Vegan, a graduate student living alone and impoverished in New York, encounters four strong characters who fascinate and in different ways subordinate her: an inscrutable urban recluse who employs her to record the possessions of a murdered woman; a photographer whose eerie portrait of Iris takes on a life of its own; an old woman in hospital who tries to claim a remnant of the ailing Iris; and a professor she has an affair with. An exploration of female identity in an age when the old definitions - as some man's daughter/wife/mother - no longer apply, fuelled with eroticism and a sense of menace.(P)2013 Hodder & Stoughton

Sceptre

Living, Thinking, Looking

Siri Hustvedt
Authors:
Siri Hustvedt

From the internationally bestselling author of What I Loved and The Summer Without Men, a dazzling collection of essays written with Siri Hustvedt's customary intelligence, wit and ability to convey complex ideas in a clear and lively way.Divided into three sections - Living, which draws on Siri's own life; Thinking, on memory, emotion and the imagination; and Looking, on art and artists - the essays range across the humanities and science as Siri explores how we see, remember, feel and interact with others, what it means to sleep, dream and speak, and what we mean by 'self'. The combination offers a profound and fascinating insight into ourselves as thinking, feeling beings.

Sceptre

A Plea For Eros

Siri Hustvedt
Authors:
Siri Hustvedt
Sceptre

The Enchantment of Lily Dahl

Siri Hustvedt
Authors:
Siri Hustvedt

Lily Dahl is a heroine of the old school: tough, beautiful and brave. A nineteen-year-old waitress and aspiring actress living in Webster, Minnesota, she becomes enchanted by an exotic outsider - an artist from New York. Drawn into a world of erotic adventure, she finds herself the target of mysterious acts of madness as she strains against the confines of small town life.

Sceptre

The Summer Without Men

Siri Hustvedt
Authors:
Siri Hustvedt

After Mia Fredricksen's husband of thirty years asks for a pause - so he can indulge his infatuation with a young French colleague - she cracks up (briefly), rages (deeply), then decamps to her prairie childhood home.There, gradually, she is drawn into the lives of those around her: her mother's circle of feisty widows; the young woman next door; and the diabolical teenage girls in her poetry class. By the end of the summer without men, Mia knows what's worth fighting for - and on whose terms. Provocative, mordant, and fiercely intelligent, this is a gloriously vivacious tragi-comedy about women and girls, love and marriage, and the age-old war between the sexes.

Sceptre

The Shaking Woman or A History of My Nerves

Siri Hustvedt
Authors:
Siri Hustvedt

While speaking at a memorial event for her father, the novelist Siri Hustvedt suffered a violent seizure from the neck down. Was it triggered by nerves, emotion - or something else entirely?In this profoundly thought-provoking and revealing book, Hustvedt takes the reader on her journey through psychiatry, philosophy, neuroscience and medical history in search of a diagnosis. Conveying the often frightening mysteries of illness, she illuminates the perenially mysterious connection between mind and body and what we mean by 'I'.

Sceptre

The Sorrows of an American

Siri Hustvedt
Authors:
Siri Hustvedt

After their father's funeral, Erik and Inga Davidsen find a cryptic letter from an unknown woman among his papers, dating from his adolescence in rural Minnesota during the Depression. Returning to his psychiatric practice in New York, Erik sets about reading his father's memoir, hoping to discover the man he never fully understood.At the same time, another woman enters Erik's lonely, divorced life - a beautiful Jamaican who moves into his garden flat with her small daughter. As Erik gets drawn into the cat-and-mouse tactics of someone who appears to be stalking her, he finds out that his sister Inga is also being threatened, by a journalist in possession of a wounding secret from her past.A multi-layered novel that probes the mysteries of the heart and mind, THE SORROWS OF AN AMERICAN is compulsive, thought-provoking and profoundly affecting.

Sceptre

What I Loved

Siri Hustvedt
Authors:
Siri Hustvedt

Alan Titchmarsh

Alan Titchmarsh is known to millions through the popular BBC TV programmes British Isles: A Natural History, How to be a Gardener, Ground Force and Gardeners' World. But he started out in far humbler beginnings, in a rural childhood on the edge of Ilkley Moor in Yorkshire.After a spell at Kew he became a horticultural journalist, as an Editor of gardening magazines, before becoming a freelance broadcaster and writer.He has twice been named 'Gardening Writer of the Year' and for four successive years was voted 'Television Personality of the Year' by the Garden Writers' Guild. In 2004 he received their Lifetime Achievement Award.Alan has appeared on radio and television both as a gardening expert and as an interviewer and presenter, fronting such programmes as Points of View, Pebble Mill, Songs of Praise, Titchmarsh's Travels and Ask the Family, and since 1983 has presented the BBC's annual coverage of The Chelsea Flower Show. He now has his own daytime TV show on ITV, The Alan Titchmarsh Show. Alan has written more than forty gardening books, as well as seven best-selling novels, including his 2008 success, Folly, which have all made the Sunday Times Bestsellers List. Alan has published three volumes of memoirs; Trowel and Error sold over 200,000 copies in hardback when published in 2002, and Nobbut A Lad, about his Yorkshire childhood, was published in October 2006 with similar success, and his third volume of memoir Knave of Spadeswas a Sunday Times bestseller.He was made MBE in the millennium New Year Honours list and holds the Victoria Medal of Honour, the Royal Horticultural Society's highest award. He lives with his wife and a menagerie of animals in Hampshire where he gardens organically.

Alexandra Potter

Alexandra Potter was born in Yorkshire. Having lived in Los Angeles and Sydney after university, where she worked variously as a features editor and sub-editor for women's magazines including Elle, Company, Red and Australian Vogue, she now writes full time and lives between London and Los Angeles. She is the author of nine internationally bestselling novels of romantic fiction with a magical twist, including Don't You Forget About Me and Me and Mr Darcy, which won the Best New Fiction Award at the Jane Austen Regency World Awards 2007.You can find out more at www.alexandrapotter.com or on her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Alexandra.Potter.Author or follow Alexandra on Twitter @AlexPotterBooks.

Amitav Ghosh

Amitav Ghosh was born in Calcutta and grew up in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India. He studied at the universities of Delhi and Oxford, has taught at a number of institutions and written for many magazines. The first novel in the Ibis trilogy, Sea of Poppies, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2008. In 2015, Amitav Ghosh was named as a finalist of the Man Booker International Prize.

Anna Jacobs

Anna Jacobs grew up in Lancashire and emigrated to Australia, but still visits the UK regularly to see her family and do research, something she loves. She is addicted to writing and figures she'll have to live to be 120 at least to tell all the stories that keep popping up in her imagination and nagging her to write them down.She's also addicted to her own hero, to whom she's been happily married for many years.She is the bestselling author of over sixty novels and has been shortlisted for several awards. Pride of Lancashire won the Australian Romantic Book of the Year Award in 2006, and The Trader's Wife is on the shortlist for the 2012 award.You can find out more on her website, www.annajacobs.com or on her Facebook page, www.facebook.com/Anna.Jacobs.Books.

Anne-Marie Casey

Anne-Marie Casey was a script editor and producer of prime-time television drama for ten years before becoming a writer full time. She has written scripts for films and television series in the UK and in Ireland and her stage adaptation of Little Women was staged at the Gate Theatre in Dublin in 2011. An Englishwoman in New York, her first book, was inspired by her experiences living in Manhattan with her family and her love/love relationship with the City. She is married to the novelist, Joseph O'Connor. They now live in Dublin, Ireland with their two sons.

Bernardine Bishop

The great-granddaughter of the poet Alice Meynell, Bernardine Bishop was the youngest witness in the Lady Chatterley trial in 1960. After writing two early novels, she taught in a London comprehensive school for ten years and then had a distinguished career as a psychotherapist, during which she brought up her two sons. Cancer forced her retirement in 2010 and she returned to her first love, fiction. Bernardine Bishop lived in London with her husband, until her death in July 2013.

Chris Cleave

Chris Cleave's debut novel INCENDIARY won the Somerset Maugham Award, among others. His second, the Costa-shortlisted THE OTHER HAND, was a global bestseller and sat in the New York Times Top Ten for over a year (under the US title, Little Bee). Both books were shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers' Prizes. He lives in Kingston-upon-Thames with his wife and three children, and welcomes readers at facebook.com/ChrisCleaveBooks, www.chriscleave.com and twitter.com/chriscleave.

Chrissie Manby

Chrissie Manby is the author of twenty romantic comedies including A PROPER FAMILY HOLIDAY, THE MATCHBREAKER and SEVEN SUNNY DAYS. She has had several Sunday Times bestsellers and her novel about behaving badly after a break-up, GETTING OVER MR RIGHT, was nominated for the 2011 Melissa Nathan Award. Chrissie was raised in Gloucester, in the west of England, and now lives in London. Contrary to the popular conception of chick-lit writers, she is such a bad home-baker that her own father threatened to put her last creation on www.cakewrecks.com. She is, however, partial to white wine and shoes she can't walk in. You can follow her on Twitter @chrissiemanby, or visit her website www.chrissiemanby.co.uk to find out more.

Christina Hopkinson

Christina Hopkinson is an author and journalist whose work has appeared in the Daily Telegraph, Guardian, The Times, Grazia and Red magazine. She lives in London with her husband and three children.Visit Christina's website at www.christinahopkinson.com and follow her on Twitter @Xtinahopkinson.

Ciara Geraghty

Ciara Geraghty is the author of five novels: Now That I've Found You, Saving Grace, Becoming Scarlett, Finding Mr Flood and Lifesaving for Beginners. She lives in Dublin with her husband, three children and dog.You can find out more at www.ciarageraghty.com, visit her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/CiaraGeraghtyBooks, or follow her on Twitter www.twitter.com/ciarageraghty.