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The Blazing World

The Blazing World

Hardback

By (author) Siri Hustvedt

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  • Publisher: SIMON & SCHUSTER
  • Format: Hardback | 357 pages
  • Dimensions: 162mm x 234mm x 32mm | 640g
  • Publication date: 11 March 2014
  • ISBN 10: 1476747237
  • ISBN 13: 9781476747231
  • Sales rank: 66,092

Product description

Longlisted for the prestigious Man Booker Prize and hailed by "The Washington Post" as "Siri Hustvedt's best novel yet, an electrifying work," "The Blazing World" is a masterful novel about perception, prejudice, desire, and one woman's struggle to be seen. In a new novel called "searingly fresh... A Nabokovian cat's cradle" on the cover of "The New York Times Book Review," the internationally bestselling author tells the provocative story of artist Harriet Burden, who, after years of having her work ignored, ignites an explosive scandal in New York's art world when she recruits three young men to present her creations as their own. Yet when the shows succeed and Burden steps forward for her triumphant reveal, she is betrayed by the third man, Rune. Many critics side with him, and Burden and Rune find themselves in a charged and dangerous game, one that ends in his bizarre death. An intricately conceived, diabolical puzzle presented as a collection of texts, including Harriet's journals, assembled after her death, this "glorious mashup of storytelling and scholarship" ("San Francisco Chronicle") unfolds from multiple perspectives as Harriet's critics, fans, family, and others offer their own conflicting opinions of where the truth lies. Writing in "Slate," Katie Roiphe declared it "a spectacularly good read...feminism in the tradition of Simone de Beauvoir's "The Second Sex" or Virginia Woolf's "A Room of One's Own" richly complex, densely psychological, dazzlingly nuanced." "Astonishing, harrowing, and utterly, completely engrossing" (NPR), Hustvedt's new novel is "Blazing indeed: ...with agonizing compassion for all of wounded humanity"("Kirkus Reviews," starred review). It is a masterpiece that will be remembered for years to come.

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Review quote

An "Editor's Introduction" sets up the premise: After the 1995 death of her husband, art dealer Felix Adler, Harriet Burden embarked on a project she called "Maskings, " in which she engaged three male artists to exhibit her work as their own, to expose the art world's sexism and to reveal "how unconscious ideas about gender, race, and celebrity influence a viewer's understanding of a given work of art." Readers of Hustvedt's essay collections ("Living, Thinking, Looking, "2012, etc.) will recognize the writer's long-standing interest in questions of perception, and her searching intellect is also evident here. But as the story of Harry's life coheres--assembled from her notebooks, various pieces of journalism, and interviews with her children, the three male artists and other art-world denizens--it's the emotional content that seizes the reader. After a lifetime of being silenced by the powerful presences of her father and her husband, Harry seethes with rage, made no less consuming by the fact that she genuinely loved Felix; the nuanced depiction of their flawed marriage is one of the novel's triumphs, fair to both parties and tremendously sad. As in her previous masterpiece, "What I Loved "(2003), Hustvedt paints a scathing portrait of the art world, obsessed with money and the latest trend, but superb descriptions of Harry's work--installations expressing her turbulence and neediness--remind us that the beauty and power of art transcend such trivialities. If only art could heal Harry, who learns the risks of entrusting others with your own unfinished business when the third of her male "masks" refuses to play her endgame. She dies less than a year later (no spoiler; we learn this from the opening pages), and the book closes with a moving final vision of her art: "every one of those wild, nutty, sad things...alive with the spirit." Blazing indeed: not just with Harry's fury, but with agonizing compassion for all of wounded humanity.--Kirkus Reviews (Starred