Author(s): Siri Hustvedt
The Sorrows of an Americanis a soaring feat of storytelling about the immigrant experience and the ghosts that haunt families from one generation to another When Erik Davidsen and his sister, Inga, find a disturbing note from an unknown woman among their dead father's papers, they believe he may be implicated in a mysterious death.The Sorrows of an Americantells the story of the Davidsen family as brother and sister uncover its secrets and unbandage its wounds in the year following their father's funeral. Returning to New York from Minnesota, the grieving siblings continue to pursue the mystery behind the note. While Erik's fascination with his new tenants and emotional vulnerability to his psychiatric patients threaten to overwhelm him, Inga is confronted by a hostile journalist who seems to know a secret connected to her dead husband, a famous novelist. As each new mystery unfolds, Erik begins to inhabit his emotionally hidden father's history and to glimpse how his impoverished childhood, the Depression, and the war shaped his relationship with his children, while Inga must confront the reality of her husband's double life. A novel about fathers and children, listening and deafness, recognition and blindness; the pain of speaking and the pain of keeping silent, the ambiguities of memory, loneliness, illness, and recovery. Siri Hustvedt's exquisitely moving prose reveals one family's hidden sorrows through an extraordinary mosaic of secrets and stories that reflect the fragmented nature of identity itself.
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
'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
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.