New York’s 100 Most Important Living Writers

69. Siri Hustvedt

Norwegian-born novelist Siri Hustvedt’s work is interested in identity and the gaze. Hypnotic and intellectual, her novels are well-known for characters whose narratives are fragmented and nonlinear (and it’s no surprise her non-literary influences include Lacan and Kristeva). Hustvedt’s work often draws from her New York life – her novel What I Loved is a complicated story of love and death in the recesses of the city’s webbed art world. After suffering a mysterious seizure in 2006, Hustvedt wrote the book Shaking Woman: A History of My Nerves in her search for answers. The book, which has been called a “neurological memoir,” calls on four separate scientific disciplines to find answers for the condition. Hustvedt now lives in Brooklyn with her husband, also a writer.

Who is your favorite living New York author?

I admire both Katie Kitamura and Teju Cole.

How do you feel about Philip Roth retiring?

Philip Roth has left many books behind him. Not every novelist is required to write onto death.

What’s next for you?

I have just finished a novel, The Blazing World. I am preparing a paper I will deliver at a neurobiology conference in Paris at the end of January, and I am reading and rereading Kierkegaard for the keynote lecture I am giving in Copenhagen at a conference in celebration of his 200th birthday. I have also agreed to write an essay on Anselm Kiefer this spring. In short, I’m working hard on several fronts.