What I Loved
is a deeply touching elegiac novel that mourns for the New York artistic life, which was of a time but now has gone--by extension, it is about all losses swept away by mischance and time. Half-blind and alone, Leo tells us of marriage and friendship, and makes the sheer fragility of what seemed forever not only his subject, but perhaps the only subject worth considering. Scholars Leo and his wife Erica admire, and befriend, artist Bill and his first and second wives--their respective sons Matthew and Mark grow up together until the first of a series of tragedies strikes. And things get gradually worse from then on, both because terrible things happen and because people do not get over them.
Part of the strength of this impressive novel is its emotional intensity and part is the context in which those emotions exist; these are smart and talented people, even the children, and we luxuriate, even when things are at their worst, in the sheer intelligence they bring to bear on their situations. It is also impressive that, for Hustvedt, intelligence is an end in itself rather than something that prevents tragedy or makes it more bearable. This is a powerful book because everything Leo knows makes him ever more the victim of exquisite pain. --Roz Kaveney
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Breathtaking (James Urquhart, Independent)
A love story with the grip and suspense of a thriller. It makes you ponder human existence with a peculiar mixture of stoicism and wonder. (Noonie Minogue, Times Literary Supplement)
Defiantly complex and frequently dazzling ... she has created a conceptually exciting work that demands we think, but which still allows us room to feel. (Alex Clark, Sunday Times)
Substantial, moving and beautifully written (Christian House, Independent on Sunday)
A big, wide, sensuous novel - clever, sinister, yet attractively real (Julie Myerson, Guardian)
A consummately intelligent novel, highly literate but also intensely moving. (Jackie McGlone, Scotsman)
Riveting ... erudite and immensely detailed ... a rich, densely textured and utterly absorbing novel (Lesley Glaister)
Subtle, compassionate, wise, and supremely intelligent, it's a striking achievement. (Kieron Corless, Time Out)
Hustvedt ranks amongst the finest American writers working today (Jennifer O'Connell, Sunday Business Post)
a powerful novel of love, loss and longing, exquisitely written (Anne Donovan, Sunday Herald)