The Blazing World Pdf Summary
A brilliant, provocative novel about an artist who, after years of being ignored by the art world, conducts an experiment: she conceals her female identity behind three male fronts.
Presented as a collection of texts, edited and introduced by a scholar years after the artist’s death, the book unfolds through extracts from Burden’s notebooks and conflicting accounts from others about her life and work. Even after she steps forward to reveal herself as the force behind three solo shows, there are those who doubt she is responsible for the last exhibition, initially credited to the acclaimed artist Rune. No one doubts the two artists were involved with each other. According to Burden’s journals, she and Rune found themselves locked in a charged and dangerous psychological game that ended with the man’s bizarre death.
From one of the most ambitious and internationally celebrated writers of her generation, Hustvedt’s The Blazing World is a polyphonic tour de force. It is also an intricately conceived, diabolical puzzle that addresses the shaping influences of prejudice, money, fame, and desire on what we see in one another. Emotionally intense, intellectually rigorous, ironic, and playful, this is a book you won’t be able to put down.
- The Argonauts Pdf Summary Reviews By Maggie Nelson
- Delicious Foods Pdf Summary By James Hannaham
- Fortune Smiles Pdf Summary By Adam Johnson
- Negroland Pdf Summary By Margo Jefferson
The Blazing World Review
5.0 out of 5 stars Harriet is Bigger than Life
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on August 28, 2016
We learn a lot at the start of “The Blazing World”.
Harriet Burden, also known as Harry, by old friends and a select new friends, is 62 years old.
Her husband Felix has been dead for about a year. Felix was a giant dealer to the stars in the art world…. Harriet, had been an artist wife.
When they married – she was twenty-six. Felix was forty-eight.
“It was love”
“And orgasms, many of them, and soft damp sheets”
“It was a haircut, very short”
“It was marriage. My first. His second”.
“It was talk –paintings, sculptures, photographs, and installations. And colors, a lot about colors. They stained us both, filled our insides. It was reading books aloud to each other and talking about them”.
“It was babies I loved looking at, the little lords, sensuous delights of pudgy flesh and fluids. For at least three years I was awash in milk and poop and piss and spit-up and sweat and tears. It was paradise. It was exhausting. It was boring. It was sweet, exciting, and sometimes, curiously, very lonely”.
Maisie and Ethan were her children.
Nannies were hired so Harriet could work. She built tiny crooked houses with lots of writing on the walls.
Both her parents died. She missed all three: Felix, and her parents. She was an only child – a WASP and Jew.
Her old friend – Rachel…. Dr. Rachel Briefman, pschoanalysis, referred Harriet to a psychiatrist – psychoanalysis after Felix died as she went into depression. She wept and talked and wept some more”.
In time, her therapist said:
“There’s still time to change things, Harriet. Don’t let anyone say there aren’t magic words”
And the story takes off…….AND ITS SOOOOOO GOOD!!!
The parts I LOVED were intimate and personal! There are challenges – but it’s soooo worth it. I LOVED THIS BOOK!!! I LIKED HARRIET!!!
I wasn’t familiar with the name of many artists mentioned – but there were footnotes. Having the physical book was much more helpful to me than the kindle. ( I could take my time- look up information I wanted- go back and re-read sections easier). Some ‘names’ — I just let go– as it wasn’t a drive- for me- in the context of the larger story – I wasn’t interested ‘enough’ to study each artist….( it would have taken too much time). It’s the OVERALL STORY I LOVED!!!!
Harriet, ( I don’t know if I could call her Harry… if she’d consider me a privileged friend… but I hope so…I love this woman). ‘Harry’ is not ‘harsh’ at all….yet she is a feminist. She is also sensitive – she really misses her husband. She knew he had affairs. It hurt her, but she never felt she would lose him and in their later years – he fully came back to her–there was nobody else. She misses her mother ( from before she was sick). I didn’t get the feeling that she minded “being-in-the-shadow” of her husband when he was alive….or that she hated domestic life. I don’t think she thought that way of herself ever. She was happy – in love with her family: always in love with life – even when sad. Harriet was versed in history, philosophy, science, art, and literature – she was an educated bright talented woman!! She was eccentric… and kinda one of those bigger-than-life-fabulous females whom I would have loved to have enjoyed being friends with. If I were in ‘her’ shadows it would be alright with me.
She even reminds me – a little – of a great female I know ….( which added to my personal reading pleasure).
After Felix died…she couldn’t live her life through her adult children- and she was ‘aware’ of the reality of the times -‘not’ having a penis as an artist was at a dis-advantage. I, myself have read enough novels about artists in just the last few years… and have learned …”FEMALE ARTISTS ALL OVER THE WORLD WERE NEVER AS RESPECTED AS MEN”. So, of course, why ‘would’ Harriet have felt any different- that she would have been ‘so special’ to ease into the art world as a female.
At the same time—with the grief ( loss), of her husband and parents….she also felt as if her life was collapsing on her. Dead and imaginary people played a bigger role in her life then the living did. In ‘that’ space, of loss, I think it’s extraordinary that Harriet did what she did towards the end I’d her life. Harry kept climbing mountains. It wasn’t perfect- but inspiring. Her creative juices kicked in her later years. She did it the way she did it- period!
Harry’s daughter Maisie ( married a therapist who worked with foster kids and they had children of their own), worried about her mother. Maisie was a wonderful daughter – wife and mother herself.
Harriet’s son, Ethan felt a little angry watching his mother change…taking on a new life. He felt it she was vaguely indecent and was a betrayal to his father’s memory.
Her friend Rachel Briefman shared what Harriet was like as a child towards the start of the book – ( always always drawing ). Rachel land Harry were best friends growing up– both had dreams. Rachael wanted to wear a white coat with a stethoscope around her neck, and Harriet saw herself as a great artist or poet, or intellectual– or all three. “
They were intimates as girls can be, unhampered by masculine posing that plagues boys. They were a team of two girls against a hostile world of adolescent hierarchies”.
We know early into this book, that Harriet has died. Volumes of notebooks written by Harriet are compiled into a book called “The Blazing World”…edited by a professor named Hess. There are interviews with various people about her projects. Through these notebooks – truths get revealed….most of her work was exhibited around New York City. Excerpts of Harriet’s journals, reprints of magazine articles, and best of all were statements ( feelings really) from the the people who ‘knew’ what Harriet was doing all along.
Harriet’s project as a whole was “Maskings”. It was meant not only to expose the anti-female biased at the art world, but to uncover the complex workings of human perception and how unconscious ideas about gender, race, and celebrity influence a viewers understanding of given work of art.
The question which could be asked….did, by Harriet using a pseudonym – -change the character of the art she made?
Three projects: three different men…each completely different…The men agreed to show the work as if it were there’s. The idea in itself fascinated me-I mean, I wondered what good did it do to give credit to somebody who doesn’t deserve it… and why? Harry seemed to think there ‘was’ a reason. Harry actually saw it as a fable — and magic needed to unfold slowly and eventually be turned into a fable that could be retold in the name of a higher purpose.
It was at this point in the book when ‘I’ shifted … I looked deeper to see this project from Harriet’s point of view. She was into enlightenment before ‘it was cool’. [ full moon, new moon, psychic, Tantric sexual practices, fasting, chakras, candle lighting, healing, wholeness and unity].
I laughed a little to myself — on one end, Harriet was into discovering ‘the truth’…
( zen Buddhism?) … And on the other hand her project was a disguise. So, for me… that’s where the ‘fable’ comes in to play.
I suppose there are MANY WAYS to read this book – each reader brings their own experience, and their own educational background, or lack there of in my case.
Like the book “The Martian”, by Any Weir… which this book has nothing in common….there were parts ( science and math details) , that some readers glossed over and ‘still’ thoroughly enjoyed the book.
There ARE challenges in “The Blazing World”, but WONDERFUL intimate storytelling also. Did I comprehend every detail? Of course not….but I feel I got to know the characters -and the story as a whole.
I was crying at the end – real tears….I didn’t want to let Harriet go. I wanted her to see all that she was and ‘had’ accomplished.
I started thinking of other artists in my lifetime, who died before their work became famous. One of the first names that comes to mind is Jonathan Larson, Composer and playwright — famous for the Broadway play, “RENT”.
Even Steig Larsson, the Swedish author who died young before he saw the huge hit his books “The Dragon Girl” series became around the world. There are so many more.
Good men die young! This was one of the most absorbing books I’ve read!!!
5 strong stars from me! I don’t think I’ll stop thinking about several characters for a long time….and Harriet pulled my heartstrings!!
3.0 out of 5 stars A puzzling patchwork of novel and erudite dissertation.
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on August 25, 2019
” All thoughts of revenge are born of the pain of helplessness. ‘I suffer’ becomes ‘you will suffer’. And let us not lie. Vengeance is invigorating. It focuses and enlivens us and it quashes grief because it turns the emotion outward. In grief we go to pieces. In revenge, we come together as a single pointed weapon, aimed at a target. However destructive in the long run, it serves a useful purpose for a time.”
( p 112 ” The Blazing World”)
Classic Hustvedt. Insightful, terse, clarifying. Ah, great – I thought. Another winner.
That was before the book seemed to fracture in my hands. With the plethora of competing voices, stances, attitudes and stories, the narrative was chopped up and served back like a dessicated Picasso. This piecemeal approach works best when the unifying theme is so powerfully exposed that the reader sees, clearly, underneath the competing strands where the defining structural shape of the story lies. Dealing with abstractions such as the position of the woman artist in the world of the ‘Male Gaze’ there are surely enough questions, obfuscations and evasions without adding a layer of complexity by splitting the narration between countless characters, many of whom would not know ‘the truth’ if it bit them in the leg.
It’s difficult to identify a straight story line here. This seems to be about Harriet Burden’s desire to wreak revenge on those in the Art world who have dismissed her creative gifts, using the very tools they themselves have created. Soon, however, we are in a meandering, tangential world encompassing aspiring artists, family, ‘refugees’, psychiatrists, lovers, best friends, children, faithless husbands, gigolos – all telling versions of their ‘stories’ whether or not these revelations impact our understanding of the central theme. Why, for example, is so much made of Felix’s sexual proclivities? Once it is established that his infidelities as Harry’s husband negatively affect her sense of herself as a woman and an artist, do the specifics matter? Yet here they are given the weight of a great revelation, a further crushing of Harriet who, it seemed to me, was already cognizant of its effects.
I was grateful for the copious footnotes (frankly, I’d have been lost without them) but found here too that the air of a learned dissertation, rather than a novel, was unavoidable. This is cleverly incorporated into the framework which purports to be an ‘investigation’, but it still seemed to me to verge on the smug, inviting the reader to take refuge in erudition rather than getting swept along by a powerful narrative.
I found the whole novel straddling this divide. I stopped caring about the characters because our ‘conversations’ kept being interrupted. Some of the interruptions gave me fresh insights, but many did not. I was left wondering what I had missed which led to reading and re-reading passages. Too often, it didn’t help.
I’m sorry to say I was disappointed in this novel.
About Siri Hustvedt Author of The Blazing World Pdf Book
Hustvedt Author of The Blazing World Pdf Book was born in Northfield, Minnesota. Her father Lloyd Hustvedt was a professor of Scandinavian literature, and her mother Ester Vegan emigrated from Norway at the age of thirty. She holds a B.A. in history from St. Olaf College and a Ph.D. in English from Columbia University; her thesis on Charles Dickens was entitled Figures of Dust: A Reading of Our Mutual Friend.
Hustvedt has mainly made her name as a novelist, but she has also produced a book of poetry, and has had short stories and essays on various subjects published in (among others) The Art of the Essay, 1999, The Best American Short Stories 1990 and 1991, The Paris Review, Yale Review, and Modern Painters.
Like her husband Paul Auster, Hustvedt employs a use of repetitive themes or symbols throughout her work. Most notably the use of certain types of voyeurism, often linking objects of the dead to characters who are relative strangers to the deceased characters (most notable in various facits in her novels The Blindfold and The Enchantment of Lily Dahl) and the exploration of identity. She has also written essays on art history and theory (see “Essay collections”) and painting and painters often appear in her fiction, most notably, perhaps, in her novel, What I Loved.
She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband, writer Paul Auster, and their daughter, singer and actress Sophie Auster.
The Blazing World pdf, Paperback, Hardcover Book Information
- Publisher : Simon & Schuster; 1st edition (March 11, 2014)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 368 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1476747237
- ISBN-13 : 978-1476747231
- Item Weight : 1.46 pounds
- Dimensions : 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,726,241 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #4,456 in Political Fiction (Books)
- #64,722 in Suspense Thrillers
- #76,641 in Literary Fiction (Books)
- Customer Reviews: 4.0 out of 5 stars 293 ratings
Get A copy of The Blazing World Pdf or Paperback By Siri Hustvedt
You can get A Copy of The Blazing World Pdf or Paperback By Siri Hustvedt from these online stores below.