• Picador
Reading Group Gold
What I Loved - Siri HustvedtSee larger image
See Hi-Res Jpeg image


email/print EmailPrint

What I Loved



Book Buy
Ebook Ebook 
    
Share this book with friends through your favorite social networking site. Share:           Bookmark and Share
Add this title to your virtual bookshelves at any of these book community sites. Shelve:             
sign up to get updates about this author
add this book's widget
to your site or blog

About The Author

Siri HustvedtSiri Hustvedt

Siri Hustvedt was born in 1955 in Northfield, Minnesota. She has a Ph.D. from Columbia University in English literature and is the internationally acclaimed author of five novels, The Sorrows of an American, What I Loved, The Enchantment of Lily Dahl, The Blindfold, and The... More

photo: Marion Ettlinger

Stay In Touch

Sign up to recieve information about new releases, author appearances, special offers, all related to you favorite authors and books.

Other Books You Might Like

cover Buy
Yonder
Essays

Henry Holt and Co.
Sparkling essays on a variety of subjects--literature, art, popular culture, autobiography--by a renowned young American novelist. In her brilliant and...
  
cover Buy

More formats
eBook
Living, Thinking, Looking
Essays

Picador
The internationally acclaimed novelist Siri Hustvedt has also produced a growing body of nonfiction. She has published a book of essays on painting (Mysteries...
  
cover Buy

More formats
eBook
The Summer Without Men
A Novel

Picador
"And who among us would deny Jane Austen her happy endings or insist that Cary Grant and Irene Dunne should get back together at the end of The Awful Truth?...
cover Buy

More formats
eBook
The Shaking Woman or A History of My Nerves

Picador
In this unique neurological memoir, Siri Hustvedt attempts to solve her own mysterious condition While speaking at a memorial event for her father in 2006,...
cover Buy

More formats
eBook
The Sorrows of an American
A Novel

Picador
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...
cover Buy

More formats
eBook
A Plea for Eros
Essays

Picador
From the author of the international bestseller What I Loved, a provocative collection of autobiographical and critical essays about writing and...
  
cover Buy

More formats
eBook
The Enchantment of Lily Dahl
A Novel

Picador
The protagonist of Siri Hustvedt's astonishing second novel is a heroine of the old style: tough, beautiful, and brave. Standing at the threshold of adulthood,...
cover Buy
The Blindfold
A Novel

Picador
Iris Vegan, a young, impoverished graduate student from the Midwest, finds herself entangled with four powerful but threatening characters as she tries to...
cover Buy

More formats
Audio eBook
Words of Radiance

Tor Books
Brandon Sanderson's The Stormlight Archive sequence began in 2010 with the New York Times bestseller The Way of Kings. Now, the eagerly anticipated Words of...
  
cover Buy
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? Slide and Find

Priddy Books
Eric Carle’s familiar illustrations of brown bear, red bird, yellow duck and the other endearing animals from his classic creation parade across the pages of...
  Bonus
cover Buy
Numbers Colors Shapes

Priddy Books
Your little one will soon learn their first numbers, shapse and colors with this bright board book. There are 100 color pictures which they will love to look...

Reading Group Gold

Reading Group Guide Questions

1. Leo Hertzberg asks, "what is memory's perspective?" (p. 21) How does this apply to his

reminiscences in the account of his life during the twenty-five years that make up this novel?

2. The ambiguity between male and female is a theme examined throughout the book. Discuss the

way in which each character deals with gender. Violet explains what she calls "mixing" (see p. 91).

The art critic Hasseborg claims Teddy Giles' art to be a "spectacle of shifting identities." How does

this turn up in the writings of Violet, Bill's work, and Matt's drawings? What does Mark's crossdressing

mean? In what way is sexual ambiguity erotic?

3. In Bill's first paintings of Violet she is growing and shrinking (i.e. "Self-Portrait"). Discuss how

this imagery affects Leo when he first sees it, and then later after Matthew is gone. How does it

pertain to the other characters as they age throughout the novel? How is the concept of hunger

manifested in Violet's research and writing? in Bill's art? in Erica's grief? How does Teenie Gold

embody these ideas in the latter part of the book?

4. Bill's constructions incorporate Violet's research regarding hysterics and dermagraphism (see p.

71). "Hansel & Gretel" (pp.81-2) is influenced by Violet's study of anorexia. How does Violet's

work affect Bill's art? Discuss the various iconography he borrows from her and how it informs his

work.

5. How are Bill's two marriages different from one another?

6. Throughout the novel Lucille remains somewhat of a mystery. Is she unknowable? How does her

reserve affect the other characters? Why is she not more involved in Mark's welfare? Discuss the

game Mark invented as a child that he played with Violet, and the way in which it deals with his

feelings about a stepmother.

7. Is it possible for a marriage to survive the death of a child? Discuss how Erica and other characters

handle the grief of Matt's death. How are parents to deal with the heartache of raising troubled

children?

8. As a child, Matthew becomes worried about the concept of turning four. What does this reveal

about his character? How is it manifested in his thinking and in his art? In the inventions of the

character Dave, and the Ghostly Boy? Who do these represent?

9. Mark begins making collages (see p.171). How does his work relate to Matthew's? to Bill's? Even

his assemblage of items when he takes over Matthew's room? Is Mark trying to emulate his father?

He also takes on different personas (as with Teddy) and voices. Is Mark's life his creation, is this

self-invention his art?

10. Another of Bill's works was a fairy tale-like project called "The Changeling." How did this piece

play with the concepts of doubles and mirror images, and the idea of 'substitution?' Leo thinks

about it years later regarding Mark when he remembers the stolen child in a glass coffin. Discuss

this imagery, as well as Bill's series of doors and letters.

11. How has the experience of the Holocaust informed the work of both Bill and Erica? What are

examples of the Holocaust imagery in Bill's art, in his paintings of Violet? in his homage's to his

father? See p. 84 for Leo's description of "words of rescue" and his exploration of this idea in Bill's

work "Hansel and Gretel."

12. Leo is not a visual artist, but the private collection of objects in his drawer are a sort of art piece.

Discuss in what way these objects become a recording of absence and how Leo's arrangement of

them in different combinations produces various associations. How do they serve Leo as muses of

memory and relate to the title of the novel?

13. Mark shows signs of his illness even in early childhood. Should everyone have recognized the

seriousness of Mark's condition earlier? Were they afraid for him? or of him? What does it mean

when Mark's therapist calls the boy's problems "characterological"? What does a characterological

illness mean? Why is Mark so susceptible to Teddy Giles? Is it simply, as he states, that he is

infected by a stronger personality? Is Mark an amoral character?

14. The New York art scene described in the novel embraced Giles' work as a clever take on the horror

genre, when it was actually the sadistic fantasies of a murderer. Discuss how the cultural media

can mistake monstrosity for brilliance. What is the role of the power of art in the novel?

You May Also Be Interested In

cover Buy
The Worst Loss
How Families Heal from the Death of a Child

Holt Paperbacks
The death of a child is like no other loss. The Worst Loss will help families who have experienced this to know what they are facing, understand what they are...
cover Buy

More formats
eBook
The Breathing Book
Good Health and Vitality Through Essential Breath Work

Holt Paperbacks
A groundbreaking approach to improving the quality of your life through the most readily accessible resource: your breath. These safe and easy-to-learn...
  
cover Buy

More formats
eBook
The Day of Battle
The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944

Holt Paperbacks
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER "Majestic... Atkinson’s achievement is to marry prodigious research with a superbly organized narrative and then to overlay the...