Memories of the Future

Siri Hustvedt. Simon & Schuster, $27 (352p) ISBN 978-1-9821-0283-8
This provocative, experimental novel from Hustvedt (The Blazing World) joins several narratives to illustrate the roles of memory and perspective in making sense of a life. A version of the author, called S.H. and nicknamed Minnesota by her friends for her state of origin, stumbles through her first year in New York, which begins in August, 1978. Having saved up her money and postponed graduate school, she has given herself a year to write a novel in a “grim apartment in a scraped, chipped, battered building.” Passages from that dryly humorous, meandering novel, which follows a misfit pair of teenage detectives, are interspersed with the memories of the now 61-year-old narrator, selections from her journals in 1978 and ’79, and slices of the life of “proto-punk” Dada poet Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, who serves as a sort of muse. Dominating S.H.’s memories of her year in New York is her fascination with the disturbed older woman in the next apartment, Lucy Brite, to whose rants she listens regularly with a stethoscope pressed to the wall, and for whom she becomes an unexpected savior when Lucy is assaulted. The many moods and flavors of this brash “portrait of the artist as a young woman” constantly reframe and complicate the story, making for a fascinating shape-shifter of a novel. Agent: Amanda Urban, ICM Partners. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 01/17/2019
Release date: 03/19/2019
Genre: Fiction
Downloadable Audio - 336 pages - 978-1-5082-7878-8
Book - 978-1-982102-84-5
Compact Disc - 978-1-5082-7880-1
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