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The Blazing World (English Edition) [Format Kindle]

Hustvedt Siri
3.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse


"The Blazing World offers a spirited romp...constructed as a Nabokovian cat's cradle....Hustvedt's portrait of the artist as a middle-aged widow is searingly fresh. It's rare to encounter a female protagonist who throws her weight around quite so grandiloquently as Harriet Burden, a heroine who is—well, more like the hero of a Philip Roth or a Saul Bellow novel." (New York Times Book Review)

“Ingeniously and energetically put together. . . . The Blazing World never runs out of steam in dispensing ideas and peeling back layers of truth.” (Chicago Tribune)

“Incandescent. . . . Hustvedt’s greatest triumph here is not the feminist argument she makes. It’s that we ache for her characters. This is a muscular book, and just enough of that muscle is heart.” (The Boston Globe)

“A glorious mashup of storytelling and scholarship. . . .[The Blazing World’s] touching conclusion ‘blazes hot and bright’ from the perspective of an aura reader, Harriet's caretaker, whose vision of the artist's work is at once spiritually charged and whimsical.” (The San Francisco Chronicle)

The Blazing World is unique and recognizably so, a bracing examination of the act of creation, of fame and identity, gender bias and feminism, love and desire, psychology and philosophy. . . . Full of life and ideas and intellectual prowess, it’s also a compelling story with richly drawn characters. . . .[An] extraordinary puzzle.” (The Miami Herald)

The Blazing World is Siri Hustvedt’s best novel yet, an electrifying work with a titanic, poignantly flawed protagonist. Harriet Burden’s rage, turbulence and neediness leap off these pages in a skillfully orchestrated chorus of voices both dark and brilliant.” (The Washington Post)

"In certain respects, The Blazing World is a didactic novel, presenting arguments about the place of gender in American cultural life, yet it avoids preaching or settled judgments by putting at its center a figure whose strongly held beliefs are undermined by the hazards of real life. The effect is more fluid and nuanced than any scholarly study or political diatribe could be." (The Wall Street Journal)

“This is feminism in the tradition of Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex, or Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own: richly complex, densely psychological, dazzlingly nuanced. And at the same time, the book is a spectacularly good read. Its storytelling is magnificent, its characters vivid, its plot gripping; it’s rare that a novel of ideas can be so much fun.” (Slate)

"[C]omplex, astonishing, harrowing, and utterly, completely engrossing." (NPR)

"Siri Hustvedt has earned her reputation as a brilliant thinker and articulate writer. This is not her first work of fiction, and The Blazing World is strong proof that her talents are unmatched in the genre. . . a delightful, quirky story that shares many truths about women in the arts, and the struggles they encounter in rising to fame." (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

“Dazzling. . . ingeniously constructed. . . . The Blazing World is a serious, sometimes profound book, tackling head-on the knotty issues of identity and sense of self, and our unconscious ideas about gender and celebrity. It offers an exhilarating reading experience for anyone willing to meet its challenge.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

“Siri Hustvedt has a rare gift for finding the human heart in what might be cerebral musings and rarefied settings.” (Columbus Dispatch)

“Immediately engrossing. . . . None of the narrators, even Harriet, are precisely reliable, and this ingeniously supports Harriet’s own theory that we are all just monsters wearing masks.” (San Antonio Current)

The Blazing World is poundingly alive with ideas, personalities, conviction, fear, fakery, ambition, and sorrow. The reading mind is set on high, happy alert.” (The New York Journal of Books)

"The absence of women artists in the history of painting is an old feminist topic, but it is one The Blazing World approaches head-on." (The Guardian)

"Hustvedt’s novels – What I Loved, The Enchantment of Lily Dahl, The Summer Without Men, among others – have always been smart, accomplished, critically acclaimed but this one feels like a departure. There is more heat in it, more wildness; it seems to burst on to a whole other level of achievement and grace." (Financial Times)

"Densely brilliant, but terrifyingly clever too... you don’t need a PhD in Kierkegaard to enjoy Hustvedt’s writing, and it’s a pleasure to feel your brain whirring as it forges links and finds the cracks across differing accounts. Even if The Blazing World is about ambiguity and mutability in everything from authorship to gender to memory, Hustvedt’s text is carefully, impressively constructed: she’s as convincing in each fictional voice as Harriet is in her masks." (The Independent)

[A]n exuberantly clever piece of work.... [A] novel that gloriously lives up to its title, one blazing with energy and thought. (The Times)

“Siri Hustvedt’s dizzying, deeply felt The Blazing World—political, philosophical, transcendent in the way of true art—will stay alive in readers’ minds for years to come.” (The Rumpus)

"Both intellectually and emotionally gripping… the generosity of the storytelling leads to full and often affecting backstories for all the main characters… [it] feels like one of those novels in which a well-established author triumphantly sums up, and possibly even surpasses, everything they’ve done before." (The Spectator)

“Masterful. . . .[Hustvedt’s] long-running explorations have rarely been merged together as fluidly as they are here, an achievement that has everything to do with rendering the novel’s abundant intellect in a deeply felt and accessible manner. Six novels and more than two decades into her career, it is altogether fair to argue that Siri Hustvedt is quietly becoming one of North America’s most subversive and fearlessly intelligent writers.” (Toronto Star)

"A heady, suspenseful, funny, and wrenching novel of creativity, identity, and longing." (Booklist (Starred Review))

“Larger-than-life Harry reads vociferously, loves fervently, and overflows with intellectual and creative energy….Hustvedt dissects the art world with ironic insight….This is a funny, sad, thought-provoking, and touching portrait of a woman who is blazing with postfeminist fury and propelled by artistic audacity." (Publishers Weekly)

“Readers of Hustvedt’s essay collections (Living, Thinking, Looking, 2012, etc.) will recognize the writer’s long-standing interest in questions of perception, and her searching intellect is also evident here. But as the story of Harry’s life coheres . . . it’s the emotional content that seizes the reader . . . As in her previous masterpiece, What I Loved (2003), Hustvedt paints a scathing portrait of the art world, obsessed with money and the latest trend, but superb descriptions of Harry’s work—installations expressing her turbulence and neediness—remind us that the beauty and power of art transcend such trivialities . . . Blazing indeed: not just with Harry’s fury, but with agonizing compassion for all of wounded humanity.” (Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review))

“Intelligent and . . . knowledgeable about the world of modern art, theory, and philosophy, Hustvedt describes in detail the insular world of the New York City art scene.” (Library Review)

Praise for The Summer Without Men

“Exhuberant…Hustvedt is a fearless writer…She’s managed not to shrink the truth of women’s lives, without relinquishing love for men.” (San Francisco Chronicle)

“Engaging…a fragmented meditation on identity, abandonment, and loss….Hustvedt manages to move seamlessly between Blake and Rilke to Kirekegaard and Hegel while maintaining a forward motion to this fluid narrative…Satisfying.” (Boston Globe)

“Elegant… a smart and surprisingly amusing meditation on love, friendship and sexual politics.” (The Miami Herald)

An investigation into romantic comedy, both the classic Hollywood version—‘love as verbal war’—and Jane Austen’s Persuasion… Among the novel’s pleasures are its analysis of gender…and the character of Mia herself, who comes across as honest, witty and empathetic.” (New York Times Book Review)

“This brisk, ebullient novel is a potpourri of poems, diary entries, emails and quicksilver self-analysis... The noisy chorus in Mia’s head has an appealing way of getting inside the reader’s too.” (Wall Street Journal)

“Breathtaking… hilarious… What a joy it is to see Hustvedt have such mordant fun in this saucy and scathing novel about men and women, selfishness and generosity…. Hustvedt has created a companionable and mischievous narrator to cherish, a healthy-minded woman of high intellect, blazing humor, and boundless compassion.” (Booklist (Starred Review))

“Intellectually spry… An adroit take on love, men and women, and girls and women.”  (Publishers Weekly)

“[A] 21st century riff on the 19th-century Reader-I-married-him school of quiet insurgent women’s fiction… Tart comments on male vs. female styles of writing-and reading-novels are a delight… A smart, sassy reflection on the varieties of female experience.” (Kirkus Reviews)

Praise for What I Loved

“Superb. . .What I Loved is a rare thing, a page turner written at full intellectual stretch, serious but witty, large-minded and morally engaged.” (New York Times Book Review)

“So richly imagined is the art in her book that it serves not just to illuminate hidden emotions but also as a subject in itself. . .A wrenching portrait of parental grief, then a psychological thriller, and finally a meditation on the perspective of memory.” (Vogue)

“A great book. The twinning of narrative pleasure with intellectual rigor isn’t rare. In fact, it’s easy to find if you’re plowing through, say, the Modern Library, engaging with classics that come to you already canonized and annointed. But to stumble into such a relationship with a contemporary. . .writer is a heady feeling. Those of us who read new fiction dream of finding such a book.” (Newsday)

“No image is wasted, no sentence superfluous in creating a novel that teems with ideas, emotions…. Hustvedt’s novel is a quietly astounding work of fiction that defies categorization.” (Los Angeles Times)

“A remarkable achievement of Siri Hustvedt’s prose, with its attention to nuance and intricacy is its demonstration that friendship is a powerful form of intelligence. The book’s final pages acknowledge nearly overwhelming loss, but because the reader understands so much, their sadness feels almost like joy.” (The Washington Post)

Présentation de l'éditeur


The artist Harriet Burden, furious at the lack of attention paid her by the New York art world, conducts an experiment: she hides her identity behind three male fronts in a series of exhibitions. Their success seems to prove her point, but there's a sting in the tail - when she unmasks herself, not everyone believes her. Then her last collaborator meets a bizarre end.

In this mesmerising tour de force, Burden's story emerges after her death through a variety of sources, including her (not entirely reliable) journals and the testimonies of her children, lover and a dear friend. Each account is different, however, and the mysteries multiply.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1782 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 369 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 1476747237
  • Editeur : Sceptre (13 mars 2014)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Word Wise: Activé
  • Composition améliorée: Activé
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 3.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°80.725 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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En savoir plus sur l'auteur

Né en 1955, Siri Husvedt a fait ses études à Columbia University. Elle vit à Brooklyn. Ses romans, tous publiés chez Actes Sud - Les Yeux bandés (1993 ; Babel n° 196), L'Envoûtement de Lily Dahl (1996 ; Babel n° 380), Yonder (1999 ; Babel n° 774), Les Mystères du rectangle (2006, essais sur la peinture), Tout ce que j'aimais (2003 ; Babel n° 686), Elégie pour un Américain (2008 ; Babel n° 1006), Plaidoyer pour Eros (2009, essais littéraires) et La Femme qui tremble (2010, essai) - ont été largement remarqués.

Commentaires en ligne

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Commentaires client les plus utiles
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Déçue 4 février 2015
Par Dom
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Je me précipite habituellement sur les œuvres de Siri Hustvedt , eh bien , cette fois ci , je dois dire que je n'ai pas adhéré;
Cette artiste, femme , qui peine à être reconnue dans un monde d'hommes , et ne connaît la notoriété que par l'intermédiaire de son époux (...) , ou de ses prête- noms quitte à en être victime , ne m'a pas convaincue.
Son portrait fragmenté vu au travers son journal intime ou les écrits des différents personnages de sa vie ( ses enfants , ses amants , ses ami(e)s, m'ont parfois même un peu ennuyée et ce monde en ébullition m'a semblé assez ma évoqué. Désolée.
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0 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Intéressant 22 avril 2015
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Intéressant cette femme qui a très peu écrit. Je ne l'ai pas encore lu mais ai lu son premier roman que j'ai beaucoup apprécié.
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Amazon.com: 3.9 étoiles sur 5  113 commentaires
33 internautes sur 37 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Masks, but what's behind them? 12 mars 2014
Par Roger Brunyate - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
Harriet Burden, the protagonist of this novel, frustrated by the inability of a female artist to gain the exposure or respect accorded to men, collaborates in turn with three male artists willing to exhibit her work as theirs. Although there are common themes in all three exhibits, their styles are radically different, changing with each mask that Burden puts on. I found this interesting, since the three books by Siri Hustvedt that I have read (WHAT I LOVED, THE SUMMER WITHOUT MEN, and this), while also sharing similar themes, are so different in texture and approach as to present quite different facets of their author. WHAT I LOVED inhabits the art world as brilliantly as this new book does, but it is full of characters that you care about as human beings, and is built around a linear story that keeps you reading. THE SUMMER WITHOUT MEN, the weakest of these three books, is basically a justified feminist lament centered around a character who is difficult to like, and told more or less in scrapbook form, though with flashes of real brilliance.

And this one? First of all, it is as tightly engineered intellectually as a BMW. Although it continues some of the scrapbook approach of SUMMER, being a collection of statements, cuttings, and journal entries illuminating the last decade of Burden's career, it has none of the random feel of its predecessor. The "Editor's Introduction" immediately introduces an atmosphere of scholarly rigor, footnoted with references to writers, artists, and thinkers who, whether famous or obscure, all seem to be real. Harriet Burden's range of knowledge (and therefore by rather too obvious implication that of her creator) is phenomenal. A very small selection of the names referenced in her book might include: Margaret Cavendish, Edmund Husserl, Søren Kierkegaard, Tertullian, and Aby Warburg. These are just some of the names I happen to recognize, but the list of those I don't is inexhaustible: Gallese, Gassendi, Manturana, Metzinger, Varela, Zahavi.... Every reference that I followed up turns out to be the genuine article, so I assume they all are, but I do get the feeling that part of Hustvedt's reason for writing is to display everything she knows, and wow it's a lot! I was blown away... but not drawn in.

About art, Hustvedt writes well, as she always has. It is interesting that when artists are mentioned in modern fiction, they are almost always conceptual artists or the makers of installations -- probably because such art is much easier to convey in words. The last major novels I recall whose protagonists are actual painters are MY NAME IS ASHER LEV by Chaim Potok and THE UNDERPAINTER by Jane Urquhart. But in A MAP OF GLASS, Urquhart turned to sculptors and environmental artists. Bill Wechsler, the leading artist in Hustvedt's WHAT I LOVED (also referenced here) begins as a painter, but turns to constructions. And both artists in Claire Messud's recent THE WOMAN UPSTAIRS -- a novel with remarkable similarities to this one, and I think the more successful of the two -- are engaged in making environments that develop feminist themes.

As does Harriet Burden: everything ranging from doll-houses through soft sculptures to room-filling labyrinths. Her first "mask" collaboration is a piece called "The History of Western Art," in which a huge sculpture based on a Titian nude is pasted all over with witty references to women over the past 600 years of art. Her second, "Suffocation Rooms," is a series of kitchens where the furniture gradually gets larger and the temperature hotter. Her third, "Beneath," a collaboration with a neo-Warhol media star known only as Rune, is an oblique response to 9/11, in which the viewer penetrates a maze of distorted passages pierced with windows and peepholes giving onto disturbing sights. If there is a conventional plot in the novel at all, it is the mystery of why the collaboration with Rune went so very wrong, and possibly contributed to the death of both artists. [All the above, incidentally, are facts that we learn from the introduction.]

When I started this review, I was sure I was going to give the book a five-star rating, if only for its intellectual density and the fascination of its multi-voiced approach. But as I write, I realize that while these things can intrigue or amuse me, they do not make me care about the people. I miss the plot of WHAT I LOVED, and Oh how I miss the characters! After reading 360 pages by and about Harriet Burden, I still don't feel I know her. I sympathize with her plight, yes -- most of what Hustvedt says about women's issues is spot on -- but that is very different from caring about her as a person. And while there is much of interest in the story of the failings of Harriet's parents and her late husband (a wealthy art dealer), or perhaps her own as a mother, there is simply too much there -- together with musings on sexuality and a dozen other topics. I just feel that on the emotional and thematic planes Hustvedt is trying to repeat what she does in the intellectual sphere -- cramming in a lot of everything, but leaving little for the reader to embrace. So those five stars for effort must alas be rounded down.
94 internautes sur 112 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 A novel for the head, not the heart 24 mars 2014
Par Jill I. Shtulman - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
Just before I was ready to write this review, I happened across an interesting statistic: at this year's Whitney biennial, only 32 percent of the represented artists were women (down from four years ago when for the first time ever, over half of featured artists were women.)

Siri Hustvedt's latest book, The Blazing World, is spot-on when its main character, Harriet Burden, muses, "I suspected that if I had come in another place, my work might have been embraced or, at least approached with greater seriousness."

The concept - an outstanding female artist concealing her gender behind three successive male beards--is solid and Ms. Hustvedt is certainly a very masterful writer. So what went wrong for me?

Just this: my personal bias is that I should not be steeped in knowledge of western philosophy and sometimes obscure contemporary art to be able to immerse myself in a book. When one character says that Harriet has "taken the Kierkegaardian position", I shouldn't need to scratch my head. When philosopher Arthur Danno, Vasari, Diderot, and others are mentioned in one paragraph, I should have at least a simple roadmap about what it all means. And when fictional footnotes are added, I shouldn't believe that it is the author displaying her eruditeness.

I am not unintelligent; I hold a Master's degree from an excellent university. Yet I felt adrift. My belief is that in the very best books, words are precisely used to clarify the human condition and create a connection with the reader rather than distance that reader. From time to time, there was an intellectual connection to this novel, but not a visceral one. Certainly there was little warmth.

The structure - beginning with a preface from the editor of a narrative about Burden and punctuated with various voices and statements - is imaginative yet alienating. The reading pleasures of dialogue and character interaction are withheld.

The Blazing World reminds me of a sometimes lovely but often inaccessible piece of contemporary art: one can admire the work and understand its craftsmanship but without that all-important connection, one doesn't have that compulsion to hang it in one's living room. Readers I respect have already given this book many accolades, and I freely acknowledge that reading is subjective and this may simply not be the right book for me.
41 internautes sur 48 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Vast potential, underwhelming result 22 mars 2014
Par K. Sullivan - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
“The Blazing World” is presented as a scholarly study of the artist, Harriet “Harry” Burden. It’s a compilation of interviews, articles, and journals from various sources (the artist herself, her friends and family, art critics, etc.). Burden was an artist who experienced minor success in the 70’s and 80’s before a quiet period following her marriage to renowned and wealthy art dealer Felix Lord. During this period, Burden felt disrespected and belittled by many who were wittingly or unwittingly dismissive of her vast intellect and encyclopedic knowledge of art, philosophy and psychology. She attributed this denigration to ingrained perceptions about women. After her husband’s death, she concocted a plan to prove her theory. She would produce an art installation and find a young male willing to stand in as its artist. When the exhibit achieved success, she would reveal herself as the true artist thus confirming bias against females exists. Burden claimed to have created three such exhibits. Only one of the artists, however, acknowledged Burden’s claims to be true. The first artist disappeared from the public eye and the final artist publicly rejected Burden’s claims. Adding to the intrigue, the final artist later died under mysterious circumstances. Thus cheated of her vindication, she was gripped by bitterness despite the new acclaim she ultimately achieved.

I quickly became very excited by and developed high expectations for this novel. The storytelling is creative and the writing brims with confidence. The ideas underlying the novel are varied and poignant. Multiple times I made notations about ideas presented in the novel (e.g., biases as unconscious, masks as revelations rather than disguises, perception as self-determined, self-perception determined by one’s surroundings, social media replacing social life, socially contagious beliefs or delusions). Hustvedt explores some heady themes and presents them in a scholarly well-documented way. Her encyclopedic knowledge of philosophy and psychology is staggering. The reader basks in her intelligence.

A strange transition occurred about halfway through the book, however. The constant allusions to historic personalities slowly lost its appeal and began to choke the life from the reading experience. What started out as entertaining and enlightening became drudgery. The author just kept beating the same drum. Perhaps the references were more obscure or less relatable as the novel progressed, but I suspect it was primarily just being overdone. The points, having already been made, became tedious. Increasingly the references seemed calculated to convey the author’s scholarship rather than advance the narrative. In one particularly masturbatory flourish, Siri Hustvedt actually referenced herself (some readers will likely find this charming).

The plot then bogged down and became convoluted particularly as the third exhibition was being planned and released. The relationship between Burden and her third mask, Rune, was intentionally mysterious. The reader is never sure who is manipulating who or why. Rune’s presence is an enigma. The reader suspects that the novel will ultimately unravel the mystery behind the final installation and Rune’s death, that this must be at least one reason for the novel’s existence, but it never does.

In the end, though, it was Harry that alienated me most. As she analyzed her relationship to her father, her deceased husband, and her children, she became less sympathetic. Her obsession with the unsuccessful experiment and her constant preoccupation with the disappointment of not being male became frustrating. Her psyche seemed to fracture and unravel as it became apparent she was battling some internal “demons.” As my connection with the protagonist slowly severed, the joy derived from the reading experience also lessened. Perhaps the inadequacy is on my part and I’m just not equipped to sympathize with the feminist struggle. Instead, I think it was the character’s wilting response to the issues that alienated me. Had she responded with courage and sought to constructively deal with her lot, she would have been a much more engaging character – much more the character I originally thought she was.
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 This is simply a brilliant book and a masterful work of art 4 novembre 2014
Par Patricia - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle
This is simply a brilliant book and a masterful work of art. My head is spinning and reeling from the merry-go-round and cornucopia of art, philosophy, psychology, literature, plays, perception, deception, human sexuality, woven in a richly developed plot and characters. Nominated for the 2014 Man Booker Prize, the winning novel, "The Narrow Road to the Deep North," better be damn good because "The Blazing World" is nearly nirvana for readers. I find it ironic that Richard Flanagan's book was awarded the 2014 Man Booker Prize when "The Blazing World" is crafted upon the foundation of male dominance in the arts. Also ironic Kirkus Reviews issued on October 28, 2014 a "skip it" on "The Narrow Road to the Deep North" and "The Blazing World" was shortlisted on the Kirkus top six 2014 fiction books. Euphoria received the top Kirkus fiction award.

This is my first Hustvedt novel and she reigns at the pinnacle of story writing for me. "The Blazing World" should be a must read for English Literature and Women's Studies courses.

The story is told posthumously after the deaths of Harriet/Harry, Felix Lord, and Rune through interviews, art critiques, and notebooks left by Harry. Harriet (Harry) Burden is a complex woman, artist, mother, an intellectual, a complex lover, and an androgynous but unlikely a hermaphrodite. Harriet's view is that in most facets of life women are undervalued for their minds, discoveries, intellect, thoughts, perceptions. She was going to prove this through her art project called "Masking" whereby she creates three works which are represented as the work of male artists: "The History of Western Art" by Anton Tish; "The Suffocation Rooms" by Phineas Q. Eldridge; "Beneath" by Rune (Larsen). As predicted, each show is widely successful. The first two artists are "young, good looking and brilliant" and Rune is established in the New York art scene. Tish is devastated that he cannot reproduce the fanfare nor ideas for his art after Harry moves on to the next piece. Phineas continues in gaining his own success. Rune and Harry are the macbre theater masks: he claims the art in "Beneath" is his and she claims he stole it. The crux of the story is trying to find the truth between Rune and Harry and the many layers of Harry's personality. Harry has an alter ego, Richard Brickman, in which art reviews and critiques are published. Again with the premise, only reviews written by men will be taken seriously. She creates wildly imaginative characters and stories to tell her children at bedtime which leads her son, Ethan, to become a writer.

Layers of sexual context as Harry expresses male dominant behaviors with her lovers and sexual flirting and role reversals with Phineas and Rune. Yet she is crushed by the revelation that Rune and Harriet's husband, the successful art dealer Felix Lord, were possible lovers and Felix was a voyeur. Harry's final work is "The Blazing World" is a larger than life sized female who spews miniature people replicas from her vagina and her brain is filled with people, numbers and words, which is modeled after Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle who in the seventeenth century was discounted for her philosophical ideas because she was a woman.

I could go on and on about this book. A myriad of themes and sub-themes. Thank you, Siri, for writing such a moving, memorable, important work of art.
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The Woman and Intellect: The Blazing World 10 juin 2014
Par Page Terror - Publié sur Amazon.com
Page Terror Reviews: pageterror.wordpress.com

Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle-upon-Tyne was an unrecognized giant of literary merit in her own time. The Blazing World, her utopian romance, is considered to be one of the earliest pieces of science fiction and addresses issues of gender, science, power, and how the three intertwine. She was known for being impertinent, having addressed and criticized the Royal Society of London and noted philosophers of the seventeenth century, such as Boyle, Hobbes, and Descartes. She published under her own name when most women writers were being circulated as anonymous and defied social regulation without shame.

It is important for me to tell you this because women are powerful, because we are still unfairly discriminated against, and because Margaret Cavendish and The Blazing World serve as the inspirational foundation for Siri Hustvedt’s recently published novel, The Blazing World.

Harriet Burden wakes towards the end of her life to re-seek her individuality as a woman, an artist, and an individual. The death of her husband Felix Lord, a prominent member of the art world, leads her to reconsider her life and the roles she has played within it thus far. Giving up her Upper East Side home, she relocates to Red Hook where she conducts her final work, an experiment she calls the Maskings, in which she presents her own art behind three men, all the while intending to tear down the facade once the last is completed and reveal herself to the world. However, with the final mask and exhibition come scandal and a disaster that will be written on and discussed by academics, artists, and critics for years to come. Harriet is a warrior and in the end she sacrifices herself to the cause. The parallels between her character and Cavendish are striking, uniting women over generations in the battle towards recognition and away from gender oppression.

Much like Harriet, I will not beat around the bush with you: this book is brilliant. Siri Hustvedt is a structural mastermind. She presents the piece as a study of Harriet’s life, beginning with the ‘Editor’s Introduction’ and then moving into a compelling compilation of documents. It is composed of a collection of texts, ranging from Harriet’s journals to articles written by critics on the three exhibitions and her relationship with her third mask, the acclaimed artist Rune. There are also statements and reflections from her friends and family, interviews with various secondary characters who take the stage for a brief moment, and articles written by Harriet under pseudonyms. The result is the slow unraveling of multiple perspectives and the realization that reality and identity, whether public or private, do not coincide.

Hustvedt’s use of literary, scientific, and philosophical references is jaw dropping. They layer the novel with a burning depth that only adds to the complexity of Harriet’s psyche and Rune’s personae, not to mention the work itself. Although the writing falls dry at points, it never stops progressing forward and the reader is never bored. If you put it down, you will return to that spot to pick it back up before too long. The reader never stops wondering what will emerge on the next page and even though we can guess at the ending, the journey is tantalizing.

This is not a piece that can be read straight through. It reads as non-fiction and, although fictional, from the start it delicately places the reader into a specific frame of mind. There is too much within its pages to consider; the questions that it thrusts into the reader’s face are too monumental. It needs to be read at an even pace over a period of time and it is not for the weak of heart. It is also not for the mind that suffers under the assumption that he or she knows all there is to know of our world and the people who live within it. You know nothing and you have everything to learn. Generalizations are for the ignorant. In a sense, Hustvedt creates her readers as she does her characters, preparing us for revelation and new discovery within Harriet’s aged and yet childish eyes.

Although intellectually geared, this work does not fail to be accessible to a wider audience. The relationships between the characters and the trials that they are put through are human at their core. Harriet and Masie’s experiences as women who are artists and mothers are portrayed with bleeding accuracy. The love and denial between parents and their children, the tension between siblings, the acceptance of vulnerability, and the struggle against a world that has labeled you before you have begun speaking, are all peeled back in our characters’ considerations of the people and the situations within their lives. At the end of the novel, the reader comes to see that it is our perception that defines us and will lead us to our inevitable sanity and destruction.

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