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

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A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women

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What I Loved

Siri Hustvedt
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REISSUED AS A SCEPTRE 30TH CLASSIC, with a new afterword by the authorIn 1975 art historian Leo Hertzberg discovers an extraordinary painting by an unknown artist in a New York gallery. He buys the work, tracks down its creator, Bill Weschler, and the two men embark on a life-long friendship. This is the story of their intense and troubled relationship, of the women in their lives and their work, of art and hysteria, love and seduction and their sons - born the same year but whose lives take very different paths.

Sceptre

Living, Thinking, Looking

Siri Hustvedt
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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:
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A stunning collection of essays by the author of WHAT I LOVED, in which she addresses many of the themes explored in her novels - identity, sexual attraction, relationships, family, mental illness, the power of the imagination, a sense of belonging and mortality. In three cases, she focuses on the novels of other writers - Dickens, James and Fitzgerald. She also refers to her own novels, affording an unusual insight into their creation. Whatever her topic, her approach is unaffected, intimate and conversational, inviting us both to share her thoughts and reflect on our own views and ideas.

Sceptre

The Enchantment of Lily Dahl

Siri Hustvedt
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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 Sorrows of an American

Siri Hustvedt
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The Summer Without Men

Siri Hustvedt
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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:
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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 Blindfold

Siri Hustvedt
Authors:
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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.

Aly Monroe

Aly Monroe was born and educated in England. Trained in linguistics, she has lived abroad - mostly in Spain - and speaks several languages. She is married and has three children. The first three books in the Peter Cotton series, Maze of Cadiz and Washington Shadow and Icelight (winner of the 2012 Ellis Peters Historical Fiction Award) are also available from Hodder & Stoughton. You can find out more about Peter Cotton and Aly Monroe via her website, www.alymonroe.com or at www.hodder.co.uk, through her official facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/Monroe.Aly, and you can follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/monroe_aly.

Andrew Cowan

Andrew Cowan was born in Corby and educated at the University of East Anglia. Pig, his first novel, won The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, a Betty Trask Award, the Ruth Hadden Memorial Prize, the Author`s Club First Novel Award and a Scottish Council Book Award. He is also the author of the writing guidebook The Art of Writing and three other novels: Common Ground, Crustaceans and What I Know. He is the Director of the Creative Writing programme at UEA.

Anya Seton

Anya Seton was born in New York City and grew up on her father's large estate in Cos Cob and Greenwich, Connecticut, where visiting Indians taught her Indian dancing and woodcraft. One Sioux chief called her Anutika, which means 'cloud grey eyes', a name which the family shortened to Anya. She was educated by governesses, and then travelled abroad, first to England, then to France where she hoped to become a doctor. She studied for a while at the Hotel Dieu hospital in Paris before marrying at eighteen and having three children. She began writing in 1938 with a short story sold to a newspaper syndicate and the first of her novels was published in 1941. She died in 1990.

Carolyn Parkhurst

Carolyn Parkhurst is the author of three novels: Lorelei's Secret (published in the US as The Dogs of Babel) and Lost and Found, which were both New York Times bestsellers, and The Nobodies Album. In 2010, she published her first children's book, Cooking with Henry and Elliebelly, illustrated by Dan Yaccarino. Born in New Hampshire, she lives in Washington, DC with her husband and their two children.

Catriona McPherson

Catriona McPherson was born in the village of Queensferry in south-east Scotland in 1965 and educated at Edinburgh University. She left with a PhD in Linguistics and spent a few years as a university lecturer before beginning to write fiction. The first Dandy Gilver novel was short-listed for the CWA Ellis Peters Historical Dagger 2005 and the second was long-listed for the Theakston's Crime Novel of the Year Award 2007. In 2012 DANDY GILVER AND THE PROPER TREATMENT OF BLOODSTAINS was nominated for a Historical Macavity Award. Catriona writes full-time and divides her time between southern Scotland and northern California.www.dandygilver.comwww.catrionamcpherson.comwww.twitter.com/CatrionaMcP

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.

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.

Claire Lorrimer

Claire Lorrimer wrote her first book at the age of twelve, encouraged by her mother, the bestselling author Denise Robins. After the Second World War, during which Claire served on secret duties, she started her career as a romantic novelist under her maiden name, Patricia Robins. In 1970 she began writing her magnificent family sagas and thrillers under the name Claire Lorrimer. She is currently at work on her seventy-first book. Claire lives in Kent.