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The Sorrows of an American
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About the Author

Siri Hustvedt is the author of three previous novels, "What I Loved," "The Blindfold," and "The Enchantment of Lily Dahl," as well as a collection of essays, "A Plea for Eros." She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, Paul Auster.

Reviews

"Dear Lars, I know you will never ever say nothing about what happened." These words, found in an old letter addressed to his deceased father, shake New York psychoanalyst Erik Davidsen to the core. Was his father once involved in something questionable? Despite the misgivings of his sister, Inga, recently widowed and contending with both a conflicted daughter and a nasty reporter threatening to unburden herself of secrets regarding the duplicity of Inga's celebrated novelist husband, Erik tracks down the truth-which is both stranger and more gratifying than he could have imagined. But this is not a novel about solving mysteries: it's about the secrets we keep and the delicate tangle of relationships we maintain. Even as he sorts out his father's life, Erik must come to terms with his own devastating loneliness and his attraction to his new tenant, Jamaican artist Miranda-who is in turn being stalked, sort of, by her daughter's father. Complex relationships, indeed, but the narrative is breathtakingly clear, heartfelt, and involving. Hustvedt (What I Loved) has written a novel of quiet strength; recommended for most collections.-Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

In her fourth novel (following the acclaimed What I Loved), Hustvedt continues, with grace and aplomb, her exploration of family connectedness, loss, grief and art. Narrator and New York psychoanalyst Erik Davidsen returns to his Minnesota hometown to sort through his recently deceased father Lars's papers. Erik's writer sister, Inga, soon discovers a letter from someone named Lisa that hints at a death that their father was involved in. Over the course of the book, the siblings track down people who might be able to provide information on the letter writer's identity. The two also contend with other looming ghosts. Erik immerses himself in the text of his father's diary as he develops an infatuation with Miranda, a Jamaican artist who lives downstairs with her daughter. Meanwhile, Inga, herself recently widowed, is reeling from potentially damaging secrets being revealed about the personal life of her dead husband, a well-known novelist and screenplay writer. Hustvedt gives great breaths of authenticity to Erik's counseling practice, life in Minnesota and Miranda's Jamaican heritage, and the anticlimax she creates is calming and justified; there's a terrific real-world twist revealed in the acknowledgments. (Apr.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

"I think I am in love. . . . This is one of the most profound and absorbing books I've read in a long time."--Ron Charles, "The Washington Post"

"Beautiful . . . both a large-scale examination of the idea of America and a close inspection of the experiences of coping with trauma and loss."--Margot Kaminski, "San Francisco"" Chronicle"""

""The Sorrows of an American "is a thought-provoking book that offers pleasures across many different registers. . . . Here again [Hustvedt] proves herself a writer deftly able to weave intricate ideas into an intriguing plot."--Sylvia Brownrigg, "The New York Times Book Review"

""The Sorrows of an American "takes on elements of a suspense novel as the various mysteries unfold, but the real question is how we reconcile ourselves to the hard truths in our lives."--Connie Ogle, "The Miami Herald

""The pages turn themselves. The old story, the search for the self, holds water once again."--Susan Salter Reynolds, "Los Angeles Times"

"Like all enduring novelists, Hustvedt combines riveting storytelling with philosophical rumination as she dramatizes and contemplates the legacy of sorrows born of the struggles of immigrants and the psychic wounds of war, betrayal, and unrequited love."--Donna Seaman, "Booklist" (starred review)

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