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Mothers, Fathers, and Others

Essays

Feminist philosophy meets family memoir in this new essay collection from Siri Hustvedt, an exploration of the shifting borders that define human experience, including boundaries we usually take for granted—between ourselves and others, nature and nurture, viewer and artwork—which turn out to be far less stable than we imagine.

Described as “a 21st-century Virginia Woolf” in The Literary Review (UK), Man Booker Longlisted Hustvedt displays her expansive intellect and interdisciplinary knowledge in this collection that moves effortlessly between stories of her mother, grandmother, and daughter to artistic mothers, Jane Austen, Emily Brontë, and Louise Bourgeois, to the broader meanings of the maternal in a culture shaped by misogyny and fantasies of paternal authority. Mothers, Fathers, and Others is a polymath’s journey into urgent questions about familial love and hate, human prejudice and cruelty, and the transformative power of art.

This moving, fierce, often funny, book is finally about the fact that being alive means being in states of constant, dynamic exchange with what is around us and that the impulse to draw hard and fast conceptual borders where none exist carries serious theoretical and political dangers.

Spencer Ostrander

Siri Hustvedt is a novelist and scholar and is the author of a book of poetry, seven novels, four collections of essays, and a work of nonfiction. She has a PhD in English literature from Columbia University and is a lecturer in Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College. Her scholarly work is interdisciplinary, and she has published papers in various academic and scientific journals. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including The International Gabarron Prize for Thought and Humanities, The Los Angeles Book Prize for Fiction for The Blazing World, which was also longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. In 2019, she won an Award for Literature from The American Academy of Arts and Letters, the European Essay Prize (Charles Veillon) for The Delusions of Certainty, a book-length essay on the mind/body problem, and the prestigious Princess of Asturias Award for Literature in Spain. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. 

More books from this author: Siri Hustvedt