What I Loved

By Siri Hustvedt
(Henry Holt and Co., Hardcover, 9780805071702, 384pp.)

Publication Date: March 2003

Other Editions of This Title: Paperback, Hardcover

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Description

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.




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.




Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com

  1. Leo Hertzberg asks, "what is memory's perspective?" (p. 21) How does this apply to his reminiscences in the account of his life during the twenty-five years that make up this novel?




Praise For What I Loved

Praise for What I Loved:

"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

Praise for Siri Hustvedt:

"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

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

"[Hustvedt] has a knack for intimate detail, for suggesting, with some intensity, the compulsive psychological spiral of drowning souls, for creating powerful moods with just enough words."
-The New York Times Book Review

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