9.17.2009

What I Loved



What I Loved
by Siri Husvedt

I chose this book because of the title, as I often do. I was looking for suggested reading, browsing some list online of the "must read before you die" varieties and this title struck me...so that's how I came to have it in my hands just a few days later.

I enjoyed this book. It wasn't my favorite, and in truth, just a few weeks later, I can barely remember what it was about. But while I was reading it, I enjoyed it. I really felt the depths of the relationships between the characters, two couples, as they live 25 years of their lives in close proximity -- both physical and emotional -- in Soho, NYC. Despite the fact that I truly have very little knowledge of art, I did enjoy the vivid imaginings of one of the central characters works of art, particularly his paintings -- admittedly, they are my preferred form of art in my actual life. I found the historical backdrop of the novel to be interesting, artistic New York from the 70s through to the 90s -- it was cool to see it evolve. More than anything, I found the relationships conveyed here to be honest and touching. I cried when they experienced loss. I lived it with them, due mostly to the spell Husvedt cast with her writing. I loved the way sight and perspective were used throughout the book, from the narrator's use of sight in his career, to his hindsight at the conclusion of the book, and his eventual loss of sight. Seeing was so important in this book, to the narrator and to the reader - perception was the key here. Perspective. And perhaps this is only gained through time - - as the novel is told looking back, as the narrator is in the process of losing his own sight, but yet has gained insight on the past he didn't enjoy as he was living it as his present.

What I Didn't Love: the whole mystery game and freaky artist scene that turned the book from a story of love, loss and relationships into a Where's Waldo puzzle, graphic and puzzling experimental art pieces where described in so much detail it was boring in parts, at least for me, lack of true communication in the latter half of the book between important characters was puzzling, given how connected they were in the beginning of the book

Favorite Quote: "My first impressions of people are often clouded by what I come to know about them later..."
Reminded me of: The Shell Collector by Anthony Doerr

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