The Sorrows of an American
When Erik Davidsen and his sister, Inga, find a disturbing note among their late father's papers, they believe he may be implicated in a mysterious death. The Sorrows of an American tells the story of the Davidsen family as brother and sister unbandage its wounds in the year following their father’s funeral. Erik is a psychiatrist dangerously vulnerable to his patients; In...more
In a few more words...
Secrets, bloody secrets. I should have given up when the first few lines warned me that the book was based on lots of secrets. Oh yes, we have secrets. Lots of silly secrets. Mysteries too. Hidden things. Dark stuff that will keep you reading.
Well not me. The style, setting and turgid plot meant that I couldn't even be bothered to turn to the last pages to find out what the "truth" was before casting the book aside at p65. And I hate giving up.
Also could ...more
There are so many reviews on here, and I agree with the criticisms regarding the multiple plots and the male character having a female voice. I was mostly bored by Erik's fathers memoirs, but when I got to the end I saw that they were Hustvedt's fathers memoirs, and she asked him whilst he was dying if she could reproduce them. In turn, the character of the uncle was taken from real lif ...more
Este libro habla de la memoria y de los recuerdos, de los secretos del pasado y de la melancolía del presente. Dos hermanos, Inga ...more
Erik D. is a tall, white, intelligent, pleasant and faintly dull therapist. He's middle-aged, divorced, and wondering if he'll always stay lonely when life starts taking some bizarre turns.
He's getting lightly stalked by a photographer once involved with a lady who now lives in his building. His sister Inga is embroiled with her deceased novelist husband's ex-lover/muse who is threatening to sell their old love letters. And bot ...more
This is unfortunate for the American writer, whose novels -- New York-based psychological and philosophical dramas -- are often fiercely praised by critics.
The central theme of her latest novel, Sorrows Of An American, is captured in the books opening sentence: "My sister called it the 'year of secrets,' but when ...more
This is not the case for Hustvedt. I believe she got published on her own merits.
I enjoyed Sorrows of an American a lot! It’s the kind of book that hooks ...more
As Inga once pointed out to me, since Plato, Western philosophy and culture have had an ocular bias: vision is our dominant sense. We read each other through our eyes, and anatomically they are an extension of our brains. When we catch someone's eye, we look into a mind. A person without eyes is disturbing for the simple reason that eyes are the door to the self.
This is a book about seeing and being seen, in all the possible ways, and a lot of it is rather abstract; the kind of book that will ...more
“Dream economies are frugal. The smoking sky on September eleventh, the television images from Iraq, the bombs that burst on the beach where my father had dug himself a trench in February 1945 burned in unison on the familiar ground of rural Minnesota. Three detonations. Three men of three generations together in a house that was going to pieces, a house I had inherited, a house that shuddered and shook like my sobbing niece and my own besieged body, inner catacly ...more
But I think I'm in love.
Despite everything about The Sorrows of an American that makes it sound repellent, this is one of the most profound ...more
His sister, Inga, was married to a famous writer, Max, who has recently died, and they chat about what it’s like to be in love with a writer and how you kind of fall in love with them through their writing.
And then there is Miranda’s ex, who is stalking her but using the surreptitious photos he takes in an a ...more
The Sorrows of an American was more solidly grounded, had a less intricate plot, and had more understandable characters. The book follows the psychiatrist Erik Davidsen in the year after his father dies. Seeking to so ...more
Perhaps novels are ghosts of a kind: words unattached to flesh that speak to us as vividly as life. Today, reading about the upcoming publication of Carl Jung's 'Red Book,' I thought of another observation made by Erik Davidsen: '…[T:]he distance needed for humor is always missing from dreams ...more
And no one's asking Cal about that scar upon his face
'Cause there's nothin' strange about an axe with bloodstains in the barn,
There's always some killin' you got to do around the farm
Murder in the red barn
Murder in the red barn
- Tom Waits
That song keeps playing in my head throughout The Sorrows Of An American - even though it's long unclear whether there's a murder in it at all. Apart from that one September, 2001 mass-murder that tu ...more
was dort in allen bereichen wunderbar geklappt hat, funktioniert hier leider gar nicht: zum einen kann ich mich so gar nicht in ihr aktuelles alter ego einfinden. ein geschiedener, mittfuffziger shrink. das habe ich ihr nicht abgenommmen. ich bin immer wieder erschrocken, wenn explizit darauf bezug genommen wurde ("this morning I woke up with an erection") und ich ungalant daran erinnert wurde, dass das Ich ein mann ist....
die ch ...more
Part of the story is based on, and quotes, her father's memoirs of life among Norwegian immigrants in rural Minnesota and his experiences in the war - this is interwoven with a complex modern story centred on the narrator, a psychotherapist in New York. Hustvedt's characters are fully realised, flawed and human. The book is largely concerned with loss, memory and how perceptions ...more
Profoundly boring. Full of false profundity. Premise of the story is so weak I want to put the word in quotes to highlight just how weak the premise is. Characters not very interesting (given to caricature or melodrama) and given to delivering long speeches. Narrator is nominally male but the voice is manifestly female. I'd love to read a story about Norwegian immigrants in this country, but this is not that book. These NYC types are c ...more
Also, dear Erik, a woman's worth is not measured in how she choses to dress herself. Assface.
Also, as an afterthought:
- The plot with Linda was completely ridiculous. Who on earth wants to ruin someone' ...more
Hustvedt has mainly made ...more