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.
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?
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'.