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The Sorrows of an American
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The dazzling new novel by the author of the international bestseller, WHAT I LOVED, about the secrets and ghosts that haunt families from one generation to the next

About the Author

Siri Hustvedt's first novel, THE BLINDFOLD, was published by Sceptre in 1993 and her second, THE ENCHANTMENT OF LILY DAHL, followed in 1997. Her third novel, WHAT I LOVED, was published in 2003 to great acclaim and has been an international bestseller. She is also the author of Reading to You", a poetry collection, and three collections of essays, Yonder, Mysteries of the Rectangle: Essays on Painting", and A PLEA FOR EROS. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband Paul Auster.

Reviews

In her fourth novel (following the acclaimed What I Loved), Hustvedt continues, with grace and aplomb, her exploration of family connectedness, loss, grief and art. Narrator and New York psychoanalyst Erik Davidsen returns to his Minnesota hometown to sort through his recently deceased father Lars's papers. Erik's writer sister, Inga, soon discovers a letter from someone named Lisa that hints at a death that their father was involved in. Over the course of the book, the siblings track down people who might be able to provide information on the letter writer's identity. The two also contend with other looming ghosts. Erik immerses himself in the text of his father's diary as he develops an infatuation with Miranda, a Jamaican artist who lives downstairs with her daughter. Meanwhile, Inga, herself recently widowed, is reeling from potentially damaging secrets being revealed about the personal life of her dead husband, a well-known novelist and screenplay writer. Hustvedt gives great breaths of authenticity to Erik's counseling practice, life in Minnesota and Miranda's Jamaican heritage, and the anticlimax she creates is calming and justified; there's a terrific real-world twist revealed in the acknowledgments. (Apr.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

'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 ... a book that's almost impossible to put down, and even harder not to re-read' -- Lisa Appignanesi, Independent 'Beautifully thought through, deeply serious and enormously intelligent' -- Jane Smiley, Guardian 20080530 'This passionately conceived, coolly delivered work is almost certainly the best American novel you will read all year ... not to be missed' -- Melissa Katsoulis, Sunday Telegraph 20080525 'A mystery story that develops into a subtle and complex novel ... sharp, confident, tolerant and civilised' -- Tom Deveson, Sunday Times 20080525 'This novel is easily described as wonderful ... THE SORROWS OF AN AMERICAN feels like a very personal story and is all the more intimate for it ... her skill lies in convincing the reader that we have seen right inside someone's soul' -- Viv Groskop, Observer 20080501 'For all its cerebral riches, this novel is composed with superb artistry, Hustvedt handles the numerous interlocking narratives with immense skill... It is proof of Hustvedt's talent that the terrors of this novel feel real' -- John de Falbe, Literary Review 20080509 'This satisfying and emotionally rich follow-up to Ms Hustvedt's acclaimed WHAT I LOVED treads some similar themes: love and loss; the limits of perception; the drama of dreams; and the need to craft coherent stories from the unreliable fragments of memory. As with her previous novel, Ms Hustvedt's cerebral characters are tenderly drawn, wise and realistic ... a beautifully sincere examination of the grim traps of over-active minds' -- Economist 20080509 'A novel of deep wisdom and storytelling' -- Lucy Beresford in New Statesman 20080717

"Dear Lars, I know you will never ever say nothing about what happened." These words, found in an old letter addressed to his deceased father, shake New York psychoanalyst Erik Davidsen to the core. Was his father once involved in something questionable? Despite the misgivings of his sister, Inga, recently widowed and contending with both a conflicted daughter and a nasty reporter threatening to unburden herself of secrets regarding the duplicity of Inga's celebrated novelist husband, Erik tracks down the truth-which is both stranger and more gratifying than he could have imagined. But this is not a novel about solving mysteries: it's about the secrets we keep and the delicate tangle of relationships we maintain. Even as he sorts out his father's life, Erik must come to terms with his own devastating loneliness and his attraction to his new tenant, Jamaican artist Miranda-who is in turn being stalked, sort of, by her daughter's father. Complex relationships, indeed, but the narrative is breathtakingly clear, heartfelt, and involving. Hustvedt (What I Loved) has written a novel of quiet strength; recommended for most collections.-Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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