Siri Hustvedt is an enormously gifted writer, not only as a wheel-turned craftsman with words, but a richly intelligent woman who shares a wealth of information about art, art history, about the history of psychology and the variations of 'moral insanity', all the while weaving a spellbinding story that digs its claws into our psyche until the closing words. The story of the novel concerns the interweaving of the lives of two couples (with additional persons as the story unravels) who interact on intellectual, sensual, and familial levels. There are two children who play major roles in this tale, but to explain those roles would be to destroy the page-turning suspense of a thriller. Her narrator is an art historian and writer and it is through his eyes that we are allowed entry into the histories and lives of the others. "The recollections of an older man are different from those of a young man. What seems vital at forty my lose its significance at seventy. We manufacture stories, after all, from the fleeting sensory material that bombards us at every instant, a fragmented series of pictures, conversations, odors, and the touch of things and people. We delete most of it to live with some semblance of order, and the reshuffling of memory goes on until we die."
Not only has Hustvedt created fascinating people, she manages to bewitch us with the words and thoughts of artists, both refined and experimental."..cliches are deadening, aren't they?... By their very nature they kill meaning."
And after all is said and done with WHAT I LOVED the narrator closes by saying "Every story we tell about ourselves can only be told in the past tense. It winds backward from where we now stand, no longer the actors in the story but its spectators who have chosen to speak." It is the WHAT of the story, of our lives, that is within these pages ..not just the WHO.Highly recommended
Beautiful! Dense, moving, disturbing, strange, passionate, anxious, beautifully written