What I Loved.

Happy Birthday Beck!

I just finished reading What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt. MJ recommended this book to me a billion years ago. Unless I dreamed the whole thing, this was one of her book club books. I bought a copy of it to Aceh because I knew it would force me to finally read it after years looking at it on the shelf. If only MJ was a little more over top in her recommendations, then I might have understood just HOW AMAZING THIS BOOK IS!

My housemate Mike read this book before I did (I think he tore through my entire Aceh collection while I meandered through one book). About a week after I started this book, Mike said, “isn’t it great how that book is so calm at the beginning and then turns sinister?” Well, of course, after one measly week I was still in the calm beginning! So it played on my mind every time I turned the page…Is this where is gets sinister? I was enjoying the calmness so much that I was dreading the sinister part, and worried it would degenerate into a crime novel (Sarah DOES NOT like suspense and unsolved crime-style books…they make me anxious). All I will say, so as not to spoil the ending, is that the turn that this book took was so seamless and engaging that I didn’t lament for a moment the passing of the beautiful pre-sinister period.

If you have an interest in any of the following you MUST read this book:

  1. Art/art history/art theory
  2. Psychology/psychological disorders
  3. New York (in the 70s, 80s and 90s)
  4. Relationships (romantic/sexual/paternal/maternal/friendship…it’s all covered)
  5. Raising children

I like all sorts of books, but this book falls well into my favourite genre that I can’t define (that maybe doesn’t exist as a genre), of books that discuss ideas and generate thought almost incidentally to the plot, but never at the expense of the plot. I once thought that the plot was secondary for me, but then it occurred to me that if I wasn’t there for the plot I’d be reading non-fiction.

2 thoughts on “What I Loved.

  1. Lara

    Hi Fortch, I know that you’ve previously recommended this book to me but after that review I really must read it. If you’ve the space in your luggage when you return (in a really short period of time -yay!) maybe you can pop it in and I’ll borrow it. At the moment I’m reading ‘The book thief’ by Markus Zusak (not sure about the spelling there). It’s fine, but it’s not as compelling as everyone suggested it might be – I think that recently I’ve read too many novels set during the Holocaust and might need to branch out and maybe go with a classic sometime soon.

  2. Robyn

    Ok, I’ve added it to my list, if only the list would get shorter rather than longer. I’ll get in line behind Lara if you can fit it in on the way over! If you loved it I’m sure i will too. Am just about to start Tim Winton’s Breath. Just finished The White Earth by Andrew McGahan (Miles Franklin 2005) which was good but maybe too Aussie. Is that bad, I think maybe it is, and probably means I shouldn’t launch into Tim Winton…oh well.

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