Monday, 28 March 2016
WHAT I LOVED by Siri Hustvedt
The couples have sons of about the same age, so they boys become friends. Then the art critic's son dies in a boating accident, and there is a lot of grieving. I was sort of starting to wonder where the book was going - and then it went somewhere: the other child, it slowly emerges, is a sociopath. He appears to have feelings, but in reality he has none, and his whole life is a series of strange lies and diversions to get whatever he impulsively happens to want. He gets involved with a young artist who turns out to be a murderer, he becomes a drug addict, he starts threatening his parents - it's all getting most interesting - and then, wait for it . . . . the parents decide to cut him off as he is not safe to be around. So they do that successfully and everything is fine. I mean ????? That's it? This is not the exciting conclusion centuries of development of the novel form had led me to expect.
I know the novel was not trying to be what I wanted it to be. I'm pretty sure that the exciting conclusion was supposed to be a bit more around theme than plot - I won't go into it for you, but basically the art critic goes blind (snore) - but I just refuse to engage with all that. For me, there was a really great thriller in here, but somehow it got buried in someone's MFA writing group.