In a trilogy of works brought together in a single volume, Siri Hustvedt demonstrates the striking range and depth of her knowledge in both the humanities and sciences. Armed with passionate curiosity, a sense of humor, and insights from many disciplines, she repeatedly upends received ideas and cultural truisms.
Antonio Damasio has been an influential and highly regarded neuroscientist for decades, not only in his field but beyond it. As a person who roams among disciplines, I have seen his and his frequent co-author Hanna Damasio’s work referenced by scholars from anthropology to psychology to literary studies. In The Strange Order of Things, he sets out to do nothing less than tell the story of the evolution of mind and culture through his central, organizing theory of homeostasis.
Siri Hustvedt argues that human narrative ability is rooted in the prelinguistic, sensorimotor, emotionally charged dialogical experiences of timing in infancy and the learned patterns of those early exchanges. Prenatal life may be important to what will become narrative, but fetal experience must be understood in relation to the rhythmic motions and sounds of the maternal body.
Siri Hustvedt is the author of a book of poetry, three collections of essays, a work of non-fiction, and six novels, including the international bestsellers What I Loved and The Summer Without Men. Her most recent novel The Blazing World was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize and won The Los Angeles Book Prize for fiction. In 2012 she was awarded the International Gabarron Prize for Thought and Humanities. She has a PhD in English from Columbia University and is a lecturer in psychiatry at Weil Cornell Medical College in New York. Her work has been translated into over thirty languages.