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'Sorrows of an American' - anyone read it? I resent the fact that i've spent time reading it!

(5 Posts)
tinatutor Wed 08-Jul-09 11:35:40

Do you ever feel like you're really annoyed with a book because it's wasted your time?
I'm one of these people who, if i start a book, i NEED to finish it, even if I don't like it. I constantly think I need to give it a chance, maybe you just need to get into it, you've spent £6, you WILL read it to the end!

Anyway, this book I'm still ploughing through. It had good reviews on the front but good grief it's a bit hard work, slow going and a bit pretentious. It's one of those where you end up skipping through large parts looking for the bit where something happens.

Just wondered if anyone else had read it?

Maria2007 Wed 08-Jul-09 17:45:20

I haven't read it all but I own it & did start it at some point only to put it down after a few pages. The word 'pretentious' is spot on. Actually all of Siri Hustvedt's books are waaaaaaayyyy too pretentious and 'oh-I'm-so-great-an-intellectual-beautiful-woman-AND-married-to-Paul-Auster'. Don't really like her to be honest. I remember when I started 'sorrows of an american' I was struck by how the child (teenage or primary school age, I forget) was reading something utterly intellectual and high brow just for fun, and this was just 'thrown in' as S. Hustvedt usually does. All her characters seem to be a reflection of how she sees herself to be honest.
Am I too harsh? grin

nkf Wed 08-Jul-09 17:54:29

I thought her last one - I think it was called something like "What I loved" - was superb. I couldn't keep up with "Sorrows."

I don't think she is pretentious in the sense of pretending. That really is her life and the world she knows about.

tinatutor Thu 09-Jul-09 12:13:29

Just finished it...it was AWFUL!! I am putting it up there with 'Maggie's Tree' by Julie Walters - load of intellectual rubbish and a total waste of my time!

(note to self: try not to get so personally offended by books you don't like!)

Maria2007 Thu 09-Jul-09 16:10:11

NKF: Yes, I did like 'What I loved' much more than Hustvedt's essays & more than (what I read of) the sorrows of an american. But I didn't think it was superb, far from it. I still think there was that pretentious, self-congratulatory feel to that book too. And also, I don't think a good writer should only be writing about their life & the world they know about (which she certainly does do). They should be able to use their imagination, e.g. that's what her husband Paul Auster does beautifully... When I said pretentious I didn't mean as in pretending. I meant as in 'look at me, I'm so great'.

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