Siri HustvedtThe novelist discusses memory, our need for community and why art matters.

Siri HustvedtThe novelist discusses memory, our need for community and why art matters.

The work of Siri Hustvedt—novelist, critic, poet, and lecturer on psychiatry at Cornell’s Weill Medical School—is concerned with imprecision, the discomforting and the unknowable. “There is something alienating about perfection,” she writes in her latest book, A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women: Essays on Art, Sex, and the Mind. Many thinkers are intent on ignoring the fact that we are all flawed bodies who forget, grow and change—producing a range of emotions that are never constant because a person’s identity is never fixed. Hustvedt however, whether writing on Louise Bourgeois, Pedro Almodóvar or the millennia-old mind/body debate, doesn’t lose sight of our limits as a species or our immense powers of self-expression.

Memory and place have an important bond. But...

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