Polymath author and lecturer in psychiatry Siri Hustvedt offers a new collection of essays in which she considers a range of subjects, from her relationship with her mother to the origins of misogyny to the art of Louise Bourgeois.
Hustvedt brings a surprisingly scientific approach to her artistic and literary subjects ... Here is Hustvedt’s unique contribution and genius: By bringing a placenta into a fight about misogyny, she fortifies her argument with physical evidence ... Other pieces in the collection don’t fall short, exactly; it’s more that they fall out of place ... When Hustvedt returns to the idea of what’s missing, her writing takes off ... 'A Walk With My Mother' could easily be an entire book, one I would eagerly devour.
... engrossing ... Hustvedt has combined the lively and tactile with more wide angled philosophical questions about perception and reality. Mothers, Fathers, and Others sifts a wide range of memory, experience and disciplinary perspectives into essays that bring into focus the profound contradictions of motherhood ... The most memorable entries in this collection are Hustvedt's reminiscences of mothers in her extended family ... Mothers, Fathers, and Others makes a fascinating companion to Motherhood: A Manifesto ... The two books brilliantly capture the joy and pain of motherhood: elation and depression, wonder and weariness, love and hate for the offspring.
... she engages readers in heady discussions while simultaneously telling entertaining tales about her Minnesota childhood ... readers can anticipate scintillating discussions of subjects such as psychoanalytic theories, Plato, Bourdieu, Jane Austen and the Brontes. Hustvedt's enthusiasm for her subjects and the ease with which she discusses them make it a delight to plunge into the deep end of a subject previously unknown to the reader ... Hustvedt is brilliant at exploring how our various reactions to disrupting boundaries plays out in notions of the monstrous, the chimerical, and their perceived threat ... On rare occasions, Hustvedt reveals her own blind spots when it comes to perception. In several essays, she does a tremendous reading of language, translation and conscious thought. The languages, for the most part, were transmitted orally or in written text. I found myself wondering how some of her conclusions might have shifted with the incorporation of languages like ASL, that rely on a variety of body clues to convey meaning. I imagine it would make a fascinating topic at Hustvedt's next fascinating salon.