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Is there anything Siri Hustvedt can't do? One minute she's effortlessly breaking down German philosophy, the next she's effortlessly breaking your heart. A fixture on tons of 2014 best-of lists yet somehow still overlooked, her latest novel uses diary entries, interviews, and other texts to tell the story of Harriet Burden--a frustrated artist who enlists three men to present her work as their own--and the people who pity, dismiss, defend, and love her. Think the formal playfulness of Nabokov crossed with the blood-boiling rage of Lauren Groff'sFates and Furies, all with a swagger and sensitivity only Hustvedt can pull off.
Hailed by "The Washington Post" as "Siri Hustvedt's best novel yet, an electrifying work," "The Blazing World" is one of the best-reviewed books of the season: 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 crade" 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" ("The Boston Globe") 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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