What I Loved – Siri Hustvedt

What I Loved was a book that I stumbled upon by mere chance, and as soon as I read the blurb, I knew I had to read it. When I did some research about it, I was thoroughly excited to see that it got excellent reviews and entered many reading lists including the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. What I Loved is one of the most intriguing, complex and beautiful books I’ve read in a long time.


What I Loved - Siri Hustvedt

What I Loved begins with the friendship of art historian Leo and the artist Bill and turn into a massive story including the wives, lovers and children of these two men. To be honest, when I started the book, I thought that the narrator (Leo) was a woman, but when I proceeded further, I realised that that character was a man. I wasn’t surprised when I read a comment by another reader stating the same thing. Siri Hustvedt is an interesting writer, and I thought maybe she did that on purpose. I guess I have to read a few more book from her to understand. 

What I Loved about this book

Each character in the book is so real and so striking that they can all have their own novels. I can almost say that I feel sad because they all remain in this novel. The story is a complete speed train! The first chapters of the book went very slowly, and I thought that I would hardly finish the book. On the other hand, I found myself thinking about the characters when I stopped reading. I talked to the characters before sleep, and I found myself trying to write the upcoming chapters. As you see, although the book was a bit slow paced, I was already hooked. After a certain amount of time, I realised I was annoyed when I had to leave the book. 

Finally, when the book is over, I noticed again that I couldn’t break away from the books with good characters. I decided not to mention the subject of the book in this review. Sometimes it’s exciting not to know everything. Enjoy!


About the book: What I Loved

In 1975 art historian Leo Hertzberg discovers an extraordinary painting by an unknown artist in a New York gallery. He buys the work, tracks down its creator, Bill Weschler, and the two men embark on a life-long friendship. 

This is the story of their intense and troubled relationship, of the women in their lives and their work, of art and hysteria, love and seduction and their sons – born the same year but whose lives take very different paths. 

About the author: Siri Hustvedt

Siri Hustvedt was born in Northfield, Minnesota. Her father Lloyd Hustvedt was a professor of Scandinavian literature, and her mother Ester Vegan emigrated from Norway at the age of thirty. She holds a B.A. in history from St. Olaf College and a PhD in English from Columbia University; her thesis on Charles Dickens was entitled Figures of Dust: A Reading of Our Mutual Friend.

Hustvedt has mainly made her name as a novelist, but she has also produced a book of poetry and has had short stories and essays on various subjects published in (among others) The Art of the Essay, 1999, The Best American Short Stories 1990 and 1991, The Paris Review, Yale Review, and Modern Painters.

What I Loved - Siri Hustvedt

Reading this book contributed to these challenges: 

Books About Art and Artists

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