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What I Loved: A Novel by Siri Hustvedt

What I Loved: A Novel (original 2003; edition 2004)

by Siri Hustvedt (Author)

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2,206582,943 (3.94)151
Title:What I Loved: A Novel
Authors:Siri Hustvedt (Author)
Info:Picador (2004), Edition: Reprint, 384 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:toberead, xx, american

Work details

What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt (2003)

Recently added byprivate library, thorold, BooksForYears, Muscogulus, danettem, curlyseashell, Lman
  1. 10
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» See also 151 mentions

English (45)  French (5)  Swedish (2)  German (2)  Finnish (1)  Spanish (1)  Catalan (1)  Norwegian (Bokmål) (1)  Dutch (1)  All (59)
Showing 1-5 of 45 (next | show all)
At a gallery in SoHo, art historian Leo Hertzberg sees a dream-like painting of a young woman, Self-Portrait by William Wechsler. He is so fascinated by the painting that he seeks out Bill, leading to a deep and lasting friendship between the two men. Over the years, their lives become more and more entwined. Bill and his first wife move into the apartment above Leo and his wife, Erica. Both couples have baby boys within days of each other. Later, BillÛªs muse and second wife, Violet, arrives.

I‰Ûªm sorry if this sounds boring because I assure you it‰Ûªs not. The heartbreaking nature of the plot comes when Siri Hustvedt, after carefully establishing happy lives for her characters, cruelly strips their happiness away. Family members and friends leave or are lost until Leo is left alone in the once lively apartment.

Ugh, my review can't do this book any justice, so I will just say is that everything, right down to the title, is perfect. ( )
  doryfish | Aug 15, 2016 |
Fascinating exploration of relationships and the "nature versus nurture" concept. I loved the complexity of the characters and the idea of how art can affect lives. ( )
  mmacd3814 | May 30, 2016 |
This is an ugh/sigh/hmm book for me. I almost never read contemporary fiction as I find it too indulgent. Yes, the world sucks and relationships are difficult. People in unhappy marriages drive me crazy: do something, do something, change. Yet I was enthralled, I was captured by the horror of Mark, of finding in a character a trainwreck so similar to yet more alluring - because it was all fiction! - than the addicts and manipulators in my own life. For popular fiction, it was very gripping writing. I skimmed a lot of it so it shouldn't count toward my number this year, but I had to admit to this guilty pleasure/horror.
  Kristin_Curdie_Cook | Apr 29, 2016 |
Incredible cast of characters, beautiful rich writing.
Review: https://weneedhunny.wordpress.com/what-i-loved-siri-hustvedt/
  zombiehero | Mar 25, 2016 |
This novel is a memoir of the adult life of Leo Hertzberg, art history teacher in NYC, and his relationships with wife Erica, and their very close friends Bill and Lucille (and later Violet) Wechsler. All are of an artistic bent, and the wives give birth to sons weeks apart, binding the families even more. The book for me gains traction entering part two, when a tragedy creates a template for all the characters' lives going forward. A second, more insidious tragedy emerges, becoming a burden almost beyond endurance for those witness to it. The novel shifts into a suspense thriller in its final stanzas, which feels a bit awkward to me, as well as further displaying some rather deviant behaviors and images that appeared several times in the last 2/3 of the book. Not over the line, but did leave me with an unsatisfied feeling. So, the positive: a solid psychological family drama; the negative: a forced, lengthy suspense element and little to show for it. ( )
  JamesMScott | Mar 7, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 45 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Siri Hustvedtprimary authorall editionscalculated
Holt, Heleen tenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rikman, KristiinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Paul Auster
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Yesterday, I found Violet's letters to Bill.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Haiku summary
Friendship, art and love
- things to look back at after
life is mostly lived.

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312421192, Paperback)

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 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 sons, Matthew and Mark.

The families live in the same New York apartment building, rent a house together in the summers and keep up a lively exchange of ideas about life and art, but the bonds between them are tested, first by sudden tragedy, and then by a monstrous duplicity that slowly comes to the surface. A beautifully written novel that combines the intimacy of a family saga with the suspense of a thriller, What I Loved is a deeply moving story about art, love, loss, and betrayal.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:34 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Story 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 and tracks down the artist, Bill Wechsler, and the two men embark on a life-long friendship. Leo's story spans twenty-five years and 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. Over the years, they not only enjoy love but endure loss.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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