Mothers, Fathers, and Others: Essays

Siri Hustvedt. Simon & Schuster, $26 (320p) ISBN 978-1-982176-39-6
Novelist Hustvedt (Memories of the Future) delves into the lives of those who came before her—people related by blood or purely by her own fascination—to make profound arguments about memory, art, gender, and family in this stunning collection. In “Tillie,” Hustvedt unravels her family’s collective memory, covering the power of both what she knows about her past, and what she doesn’t: “It is only as an adult that I have been able to meditate on the problem of omission... and to begin to understand that the unsaid may speak as loudly as the said.” “Living Thing” characterizes art as a collective memory, claiming it “cannot be fixed to a single location because lived experience is not left behind in the room where the object rests unseen at night after the museum has closed its doors.” “Both-And” explores the “dance, humor, irony, and fun” that is often omitted in analyses of women’s art, particularly the work of Louise Bourgeois, while “What Does a Man Want” parses misogyny as a force that “distorts truths about shape-shifting, dynamic human beings.” In her typical fashion, Hustvedt pulls from psychoanalysis, philosophy, literature, and art criticism to make brilliant connections among her takes on the world. Fans of Hustvedt’s work will welcome this, and those less familiar will delight in discovering her witty, lavish style. (Dec.)
Reviewed on : 09/14/2021
Release date: 12/01/2021
Genre: Nonfiction
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-7971-3491-8
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