The Blazing World
by Siri Hustvedt

Overview - Named one of the New York Times Book Review's 100 Notable Books of the Year ** Publishers Weekly 's Best Fiction Books of 2014 ** NPR Best Books of 2014 ** Kirkus Reviews Best Literary Fiction Books of 2014 ** Washington Post Top 50 Fiction Books of 2014 ** Boston Globe 's Best Fiction of 2014 ** The Telegraph 's Best Fiction to Read 2014 ** St.  Read more...

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More About The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt
Named one of the New York Times Book Review's 100 Notable Books of the Year ** Publishers Weekly's Best Fiction Books of 2014 ** NPR Best Books of 2014 ** Kirkus Reviews Best Literary Fiction Books of 2014 ** Washington Post Top 50 Fiction Books of 2014 ** Boston Globe's Best Fiction of 2014 ** The Telegraph's Best Fiction to Read 2014 ** St. Louis Post Dispatch's Best Books of 2014 ** The Independent Fiction Books of the Year 2014 ** One of Buzzfeed's Best Books Written by Women in 2014 ** San Francisco Chronicle's Best of 2014 ** A Nancy Pearl Pick **'s Best of 2014 Fiction

Winner of the 2014 LA Times Book Prize for Fiction

Finalist for the 2014 Kirkus Prize

Hailed by The Washington Post as "Siri Hustvedt's best novel yet, an electrifying work," The Blazing World is a masterful novel about perception, prejudice, desire, and one woman's struggle to be seen.

In a new novel called "searingly fresh... A Nabokovian cat's cradle" on the cover of The New York Times Book Review, the internationally bestselling author tells the provocative story of artist Harriet Burden, who, after years of having her work ignored, ignites an explosive scandal in New York's art world when she recruits three young men to present her creations as their own. Yet when the shows succeed and Burden steps forward for her triumphant reveal, she is betrayed by the third man, Rune. Many critics side with him, and Burden and Rune find themselves in a charged and dangerous game, one that ends in his bizarre death.

An intricately conceived, diabolical puzzle presented as a collection of texts, including Harriet's journals, assembled after her death, this "glorious mashup of storytelling and scholarship" (San Francisco Chronicle) unfolds from multiple perspectives as Harriet's critics, fans, family, and others offer their own conflicting opinions of where the truth lies. Writing in Slate, Katie Roiphe declared it "a spectacularly good read...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."

"Astonishing, harrowing, and utterly, completely engrossing" (NPR), Hustvedt's new novel is "Blazing indeed: ...with agonizing compassion for all of wounded humanity"(Kirkus Reviews, starred review). It is a masterpiece that will be remembered for years to come.

  • ISBN-13: 9781476747248
  • ISBN-10: 1476747245
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publish Date: November 2014
  • Page Count: 357
  • Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.55 x 0.91 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.73 pounds

Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Literary
Books > Fiction > Mystery & Detective - General
Books > Fiction > Satire

BookPage Reviews

Book clubs: Portrait of the artist

Siri Hustvedt’s mesmerizing novel, The Blazing World, was longlisted for the 2014 Man Booker Prize, and it’s easy to see why. Artist Harriet Burden, heroine of the narrative, stirs up controversy in the New York cultural scene when she enlists three men to pose as the masterminds behind three of her own installations. Tired of being overlooked as an artist, Harriet is determined to attract some attention. But the stunt takes an unfortunate turn when one of her enlistees—a man named Rune—double-crosses her. Alas for Harriet, Rune has many important people backing him, including reviewers and critics, and she soon has big trouble on her hands. What transpires between the two of them—including a strange death—makes for hypnotic reading. This suspenseful story is recounted in part through Harriet’s journal entries. Detractors of her art, as well as admirers and family members, also have a say in this multifaceted story. Hustvedt’s skillful shifts in point-of-view add complexity to a masterful novel about the hazards of letting life and art overlap.

In Bark, her first crop of stories since the acclaimed collection Birds of America (1998), Lorrie Moore delivers more of her wit, wisdom and trademark verbal precision. In these eight stories, she takes on inexhaustible topics like relationships, the experience of aging and the challenges of dealing with change. “Debarking” follows the freshly divorced Ira as he starts to date again—a bewildering experience that makes him question himself and the state of the world. In “Wings,” a pair of has-been musicians try to pick up the pieces of their failed lives and move forward. Part ghost story, part lament for a lost connection, “The Juniper Tree” features a teacher who’s mourning a dead friend. Rich in its examination of the human condition, this collection is one to savor. Moore is an expert at pinpointing what motivates both genders and articulating the interior worlds of her characters. With both short pieces and relatively longer works, this perceptive, timely book offers something for every reader.

Anna Quindlen’s Still Life with Bread Crumbs is a funny, romantic novel about a woman surprised by love. At the age of 60, Rebecca Winter, a once-celebrated photographer who’s struggling to make ends meet, finds herself in the midst of some big transitions. No longer able to afford her New York City apartment, she relocates to an upstate cabin where she encounters crazy raccoons and enthusiastic hunters. Stimulated by her new surroundings, Rebecca begins taking pictures. When she befriends Jim Bates, a roofer and avid bird watcher, her life takes yet another unexpected turn. Jim tags along during her photography excursions, making the shift to rural life more intriguing than she ever thought possible. Quindlen has written a charming and poignant narrative that will resonate with readers of all ages. It’s a timeless, never-say-never tale about rolling with life’s changes and discovering the art that lies in everyday existence.


This article was originally published in the November 2014 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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