I had read and really enjoyed Hustvedt’s intense novel “What I Loved” (if you search for “Hustvedt” on this page you can hear more) and although I am not a big reader of nonfiction, one day in the bookstore this just insisted on coming home with me.
These are really interesting essays. My favorites were the literary ones – ponderings on The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald), The Bostonians (H. James) and Our Mutual Friend (Dickens) – and, as someone who was a New Yorker at the time, her essay on 9/11 from a NYer’s point of view.
The Minnesota stuff is all very familiar to me, I can picture those places not just from my own experiences in small towns there, and my undergrad experience at Gustavus (very similar to St. Olaf, where she went), but also from having been to many of the actual places.
She makes herself very vulnerable here. Way beyond anything I could ever commit to print. And at some points as similarly intense as in her fiction. Burning brightly.