Living, Thinking, Looking

Siri Hustvedt

Living, Thinking, Looking

Divided into three sections - Living, which draws on Siri Hustvedt's own life; Thinking, on memory, emotion and the imagination; and Looking, on art and artists - these 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'. 3.5 out of 5 based on 5 reviews
Living, Thinking, Looking

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Essays, Journals & Letters
Format Hardback
Pages 400
RRP
Date of Publication June 2012
ISBN 978-1444732634
Publisher Sceptre
 

Divided into three sections - Living, which draws on Siri Hustvedt's own life; Thinking, on memory, emotion and the imagination; and Looking, on art and artists - these 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'.

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Reviews

The Independent on Sunday

Joy Lo Dico

She writes in the first person, as both Freud and Montaigne did, and in doing so creates an easy thought-conversation between herself and the reader. This atmosphere makes her essays a little like a therapy session, in which she may hit upon a nerve at any moment, then explore and rationalise it ... This is not a volume that provides concrete answers. Rather, it leaves the reader feeling subjected to a soft interrogation of one's own perception of oneself.

17/06/2012

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The Observer

Salley Vickers

… while there is nothing simple about Hustvedt's subject matter — it ranges from migraine to Goya via existential philosophy and psychoanalysis — there is something refreshingly straightforward about her style. It has the confidence born of complex but well digested thoughts and thus lacks the tendency to obfuscate that is the hallmark of the inferior thinker's style.

03/06/2012

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The Sunday Telegraph

Melanie McGrath

Initially, I found myself skimming critiques of individual artists in whom I had no interest, but after reading her wonderfully original and clear-headed essay on the holistic mind-body nature of looking, “Embodied Visions”, I went back to them and wasn’t disappointed. Her erudition, the sharp clarity of her thinking, the variety of her sources and the supple ways in which she weaves them into personal narrative, coupled with her fearlessness in the face of those aspects of the human condition which are of necessity ambiguous, infuse her work with a rare kind of quiet intellectual confidence.

12/06/2012

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The Sunday Times

Nick Rennison

Her determination to engage with complex problems makes this book a challenging read. At worst, there is an earnest intensity to her writing; at best, though, she is an inspiring guide to territory where both the humanities and the sciences can throw light on the ways in which we construct meaning in our lives.

17/06/2012

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The Financial Times

George Pendle

By far the most enjoyable essays here are those on art, in which external stimulus punctures the self-absorption. For the most part, however, Hustvedt’s essays occupy a space somewhere between the work of social theorist Elaine Scarry and pop psychologist Malcolm Gladwell — though they lack the original insight of the former and the addictive readability of the latter. Without the propulsive narrative force of her novels, Hustvedt has a tendency to meander. A general lack of levity does not help.

02/06/2012

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