The Sorrrows of an American

Siri Hustvedt

The Sorrrows of an American

After their fathers 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 fathers memoir, hoping to discover the man he never fully understood. At the same time, another woman enters Eriks 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. 4.2 out of 5 based on 5 reviews
The Sorrrows of an American

Omniscore:

Classification Fiction
Genre General Fiction
Format Hardback
Pages 320
RRP £16.99
Date of Publication May 2008
ISBN 978-0340897065
Publisher Sceptre
 

After their fathers 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 fathers memoir, hoping to discover the man he never fully understood. At the same time, another woman enters Eriks 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.

Reviews

The Independent

Lisa Appignanesi

It is a rare writer who can both rouse the mind and grip the heart, and all the while provide the sensuous delights of image and language. In her new novel, as in What I Loved, Siri Hustvedt does that and more. The "more" is a compelling narrative in which the past haunts the present of characters so vividly real they become members of your intimate circle and erupt in your dreams.

06/06/2008

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The Sunday Times

Melissa Katsoulis

Hustvedt is famous for writing positively thrilling prose. But she is on fire here. Not a single word is wasted or wrong, and to each of her diverse characters there is a seasoned, utterly believable vernacular. This passionately conceived, coolly delivered work is almost certainly the best American novel you will read this year. It's Updike in high heels and it's not to be missed.

30/05/2008

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The Times

Sarah Emily Miano

This novel is a masterful semi-self-portrait by turns abstract and realistic, intimate and alienating, effulgent and bleak, concise and blurry, straightforward and elusive - but the author couldn't have it any other way.

23/05/2008

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The Guardian

Jane Smiley

The novel is most interesting for the way in which it fails. Though beautifully thought through, deeply serious and enormously intelligent, it demonstrates that there is a reason why Freud and Kafka belong to one culture, and Ibsen and Sigrid Undset belong to another. It's a rare Scandinavian writer who expects any sorrows at all, even those of an American, to be healed by mere memory.

31/05/2008

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The Spectator

Honor Clerk

Hustvedt gives two major inspirations for the novel — a memoir written by her recently deceased father and her immersion, through lectures, conversations and through teaching at a psychiatric clinic, in the world of psychiatry and of the mentally ill. But they feel, however, just that: separate inspirations. Nothing she writes could be anything but sensitive and intelligent, but in yoking these two sources into a coherent narrative, there remains, for all the wisdom, wit and humanity of the tale, a hint of difficulty in resolution — and a glimpse of the armature that should really be well buried in a fully realised fiction.

28/05/2008

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