Jim Grimsley's Reviews > The Blindfold

The Blindfold by Siri Hustvedt
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My first impressions of this novel were that the writing had a stiff, unpracticed quality at the sentence level, and that the method of the narrative was abrupt. The first section of the book, about an interaction between the protagonist and a man who wants her to describe objects he purloined from the possessions of a dead woman, felt pushed in terms of the dialog. Conversations played out in a flatfooted way. But the episode was based on an intriguing idea. In the subsequent sections of the book many of the problems I saw in the writing went away, the author becoming more practiced and losing herself in the writing. The final episode was a gem, and I would have wished it were the entire novel, expanded on and left to do the work of exploring the shifting self on its own - but that's me trying to write someone else's novel. What the writer has done is strong work in her own manner and on her terms. But I cannot overcome the feeling that the episodes stand too separate from one another and do not act with one another as well as they could, and that harms the novel. The activities of the first section of the book vanish completely and never arise again. The presence of her lover (soon former lover) Stephen does cross over sections of the book but without much effect. And the final section of the book contains all the other episodes within its scope but still stands separate from them. This can be read as commentary on the function of the self, but it can also be read as weakness in structure. Nevertheless, I admired the last part of the book enough that I am glad to have encountered this book.

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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
January 11, 2021 – Shelved

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