A powerful and heartbreaking novel that chronicles the epic story of two families, two sons, and two marriages
What I Loved begins in New York in 1975, when art historian Leo Hertzberg discovers an extraordinary painting by an unknown artist in a SoHo gallery. He buys the work; tracks down the artist, Bill Wechsler; and the two men embark on a life-long friendship.
Leo's story, which spans twenty-five years, follows the evolution of the growing involvement between his family and Bill's-an intricate constellation of attachments that includes the two men; their wives, Erica and Violet; and their children, Matthew and Mark. The families live in the same building in New York, share a house in Vermont during the summer, keep up a lively exchange of thoughts and ideas, and find themselves permanently altered by one another. Over the years, they not only enjoy love but endure loss-in one case sudden, incapacitating loss; in another, a different kind, one that is hidden and slow-growing, and which insidiously erodes the fabric of their lives.
Intimate in tone and seductive in its complexity, the novel moves seamlessly from inner worlds to outer worlds, from the deeply private to the public, from physical infirmity to cultural illness. Part family novel, part psychological thriller, What I Loved is a beautifully written exploration of love, loss, and betrayal-and of a man's attempt to make sense of the world and go on living.
About Siri HustvedtSee more books from this Author
Leo tries to look out for the now fatherless Mark, who’s become a fixture of the downtown club scene and has nearly overdosed several times—but Leo had to back off after discovering Mark’s theft of $7,000 from him.| Read Full Review of What I Loved: A Novel
(This is not unapt: her narrator, Leo Hertzberg, is a professor of art history who has written a book called A Brief History of Seeing in Western Painting.) Her characters inhabit a rarefied world of SoHo art galleries and universities and are so preoccupied with interpreting their lives that you...Jan 19 2003 | Read Full Review of What I Loved: A Novel
So muses Columbia University art historian Leo Hertzberg as he recalls the love affair between artist Bill ("Seeing is flux") Wechsler and his model/second wife, Violet, whom Leo secretly loves almost as much as his own wife, Erica.| Read Full Review of What I Loved: A Novel
Set in New York City, the novel is told through the eyes of Leo Hertzberg, an art historian and critic, who haphazardly discovers a very striking painting to which he is compelled to find the contributing artist, a man by the name of Bill Weschler.Jun 01 2011 | Read Full Review of What I Loved: A Novel
Downtown artsy types, living in an insular world of esoteric discussions and inaccessible work, are a New York City cliche.Mar 21 2003 | Read Full Review of What I Loved: A Novel
12 · 19 June 2003 » Benjamin Markovits » You can’t get there from here A downloadable PDF version of this book review is also available for purchase from the London Review Bookshop.| Read Full Review of What I Loved: A Novel
If you're new here, you may want to sign up to our mailing list.Jul 13 2011 | Read Full Review of What I Loved: A Novel
Siri Hustvedt's What I loved is both a moving elegy for the vibrant but long gone art scene of 1970s New York and a meditation on the shattering effects of time and tragedy on two couples whose lives become intertwined.Aug 04 2003 | Read Full Review of What I Loved: A Novel
Both Leo Hertzberg, an art historian, and Bill Weschler, a painter, are cultured, decent men, but neither is equipped to deal with what happens to their children - Leo's son drowns when he's 12, while Bill's son Mark grows up to be a delinquent, and the acolyte of a sinister, guru-like artist who...| Read Full Review of What I Loved: A Novel
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