Elizabeth Nolan Brown // Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘Siri Hustvedt

Catalogued: The Summer Without Men >> Siri Hustvedt

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 Hustvedt, Siri. 
 The Summer Without Men / by Siri 
     Hustvedt. - New York: Picador, 2011

1. “In Athens, they formalized ostracism to rid themselves of those suspected of having accumulated too much power, from ostrakon, the word for ‘shard.’ They wrote down the names of the threats on broken pieces of crockery. Word Shards. The Pathan tribes in Pakistan exile renegade members, sending them into a dusty nowhere. The Apache ignore widows. They fear the paroxysms of giref and pretend those who suffer from them do not exist. Chimpanzees, lions, wolves all have forms of ostracism, forcing out one of their own, either too weak or too obstreperous to be tolerated by the group. Scientists describe this as an “innate and adapteive” method of social control. … The Amish call it Meidung. When a member breaks a law, he or she is shunned. All interactions cease, and the one they have turned against falls into destitution or worse.”

2. “It is impossible to divine a story while you are living it; it is shapeless; an inchoate procession of words and things, and let us be frank: We never recover what was. Most of it vanishes. … Time is not outside us, but inside. Only we live with past, present and future, and the present is too brief to experience anyway. It is retained afterward and then it is either codified or it slips into amnesia. Consciousness is the product of delay.”

3. “In his journals, Kierkegaard writes that dread is an attraction, and he is right. Dread is a lure, and I could feel it’s tug, but why? What had I actually seen or heard that created this mild but definite pull in me? Perception is never passive. We are not only receivers of the world; we also actively produce it. There is a hallucinatory quality to all perception, and illusions are easy to create.”

4. “The whole story is in my head, isn’t it? I am not so philosophically naive as to believe that one can establish some empirical reality of THE STORY.”

5. “We must all allow ourselves the fantasy of projection from time to time, a chance to clothe ourselves in the imaginary gowns and tails of what has never been and never will be. This gives some polish to our tarnished lives, and sometimes we may choose one dream over another, and in the choosing find some respite from ordinary sadness. After all, we, none of us, can ever untangle the knot of fictions that make up that wobbly thing we call a self.”

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Written by ENB

September 14, 2011 at 12:40 pm

Catalogued: ‘Poets & Writers’ Profile of Siri Hustvedt

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A quote plucked from my current reading material.


Author Paul Auster on first meeting his wife, author Siri Hustvedt:

It was pretty sudden, I have to say … For the first few seconds, all I could see was her beauty, the radiance of her beauty, and quickly jumped to the conclusion that she was a model. Could a six-foot-tall blonde who looked like that not be a model? But, lo and behold, it turned out that she was a graduate student, and once we began to talk, I understood how ferociously intelligent she was. We went on talking after the reading, then at an after party, and after the party broke up we went out to a bar and continued talking for several more hours. I found her so brilliant, so wise, so alert, I was utterly smitten. My whole life changed in those hours, both our lives changed, and we’ve been together ever since.”

as quoted in the May/June 2011 issue of Poets & Writers

Auster and Hustvedt have been married 28 years. Her latest book, The Summer Without Men, is partly about (what else?) neuroscience.

Written by ENB

May 2, 2011 at 12:30 pm