Friday, August 20, 2010

Siri Hustvedt: Enchantment

Painting: Nighthawks by Edward Hopper, 1942


I am reading "The Enchantment of Lily Dahl" by Siri Hustvedt.


I am... immersed. It is one of those books which remains with you after you put it down. Like all of Hustvedt's novels, it is incredibly visual. A reviewer on Amazon mentioned the paintings of Edward Hopper in the context of "The Blindfold" (Hustvedt's earlier novel), but I wasn't convinced.

In this volume, the images are absolutely clear: here are the people standing in windows gazing out and being gazed upon, the clapboard houses, the dark-lit bars. It makes me want to seek out "Poetry of Solitude", a tribute to Hopper through poems inspired by his paintings. But I feel I might be disappointed. I would rather read a Hustvedt novel... over and over again if need be.

Lily Dahl is "enchanted" by images and symbols. An erotic postcard has a Tarot-like quality, predicting her encounter with Ed, the artist she spies upon from her darkened window. A pair of shoes carry the ghostly imprints of unknown feet, guiding her steps into sinister places. Those shoes! Shiver!

There is something cinematic in this writing, too.

I have not finished reading. I am reluctant to close the book, I do not want it to be over. It is rare that I am so captivated by an author these days.

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