Memories of the Future
A provocative, exuberant novel about time, memory, desire, and the imagination from the internationally bestselling and prizewinning author of The Blazing World, Memories of the Future tells the story of a young Midwestern woman’s first year in New York City in the late 1970s and her obsession with her mysterious neighbor, Lucy Brite.
As she listens to Lucy through the thin walls of her dilapidated building, S.H., a.k.a. “Minnesota,” transcribes her neighbor’s bizarre and increasingly ominous monologues in a notebook, along with sundry other adventures, until one frightening night when Lucy bursts into her apartment on a rescue mission.
Forty years later, S.H., now a veteran author, discovers her old notebook, as well as early drafts of a never-completed novel while moving her aging mother from one facility to another. Ingeniously juxtaposing the various texts, S.H. measures what she remembers against what she wrote that year and has since forgotten to create a dialogue between selves across decades. The encounter both collapses time and reframes its meanings in the present.
Elaborately structured, intellectually rigorous, urgently paced, poignant, and often wildly funny, Memories of the Future brings together themes that have made Hustvedt among the most celebrated novelists working today: the fallibility of memory; gender mutability; the violence of patriarchy; the vagaries of perception; the ambiguous borders between sensation and thought, sanity and madness; and our dependence on primal drives such as sex, love, hunger, and rage.
The audio rights are handled by Simon & Schuster.
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Helen Manders manages the translation rights for Memories of the Future
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Among the many riches of Siri Hustvedt's portrait of a young woman finding her way as an artist are her reflections on how acts of remembering, if they reach deep enough, can heal the broken present, as well as on the inherent uncanniness of feeling oneself brought into being by the writing hand. Her reflections are no less profound for being couched as philosophical comedy of a Shandean variety.
Like all the best postmodern novels, this metafictional investigation of time, memory, and the mutating self is as playful as it is serious.
Various forms of detection, anchored to Hustvedt's deep knowledge of neuroscience and art, propel this rapier attack on sexism; this is a lusciously layered and suspenseful 'portrait of the artist as a young woman,' electric with wit, curiosity, and storytelling magic.Booklist
That rarest of beasts: a deeply intellectual writer whose work is joyful and not intimidating in the slightest. This is terrific.
A multilayered portrait of the artist as a young woman... Hustvedt has the imaginative mastery to encase complex ideas in the flesh and blood needed to render them visceral.
Provocative and mysterious, this fictionalised portrait of the author as a young woman is comic and sensual as well as thematically meaty, touching on memory, witchcraft and male violence.
Mail on Sunday
A teasing, complex, disconcerting novel.
[Hustvedt] writes beautifully on memory . . . And she captures the power of past narrative to shape a life to come . . . This is a book that merits rereading, not least because it's trying to build something new . . . Hustvedt's novelistic renovation is nostalgic and brave in equal measure. She's made just enough architectural moves to make you look at the space anew.
Wise, graceful and often formidably bracing
Reading a Hustvedt novel is like consuming the best of David Lynch on repeat
[Hustvedt] deftly masters postmodern fictional techniques while also tapping into the broader liberal humanist tradition and placing feminism in that context. She's a 21st-century Virginia Woolf, with many intellectual and creative rooms of her own - including a delightful talent for drawing cartoons, a host of which appear throughout her book.
Captivating, smart and witty
A playful, thoughtful book about the workings of memory and the relationship between our older and younger selves. It's a paean to the pleasures of reading, celebrating the ways that a lifetime with books enhances a complicates selfhood. It's a work of autofiction that offers truthful fiction to counter an era of fake news.
Memories of the Future shines in its observations on the fluidity of time and the ways in which one's older and younger selves can coexist.
Few contemporary writers are as satisfying and stimulating to read as Siri Hustvedt.
[Hustvedt] tackles misogyny, memory and the artistic process with provocative brio.