The Blindfold

The Blindfold Iris Vegan a young impoverished graduate student from the Midwest finds herself entangled with four powerful but threatening characters as she tries to adjust to life in New York City Mr Morning a

  • Title: The Blindfold
  • Author: Siri Hustvedt
  • ISBN: 9780312422752
  • Page: 275
  • Format: Paperback
  • Iris Vegan, a young, impoverished graduate student from the Midwest, finds herself entangled with four powerful but threatening characters as she tries to adjust to life in New York City Mr Morning, an inscrutable urban recluse, employs Iris to tape record verbal descriptions of objects that belonged to a murder victim George, a photographer, takes an eerie portrait ofIris Vegan, a young, impoverished graduate student from the Midwest, finds herself entangled with four powerful but threatening characters as she tries to adjust to life in New York City Mr Morning, an inscrutable urban recluse, employs Iris to tape record verbal descriptions of objects that belonged to a murder victim George, a photographer, takes an eerie portrait of Iris, which then acquires a strange life of its own, appearing and disappearing without warning around the city After a series of blinding migraines, Iris ends up in a hospital room with Mrs O a woman who has lost her mind and memory to a stroke, but who nevertheless retains both the strength and energy to torment her fellow patient And finally, there is Professor Rose, Iris s teacher and eventually her lover While working with him on the translation of a German novella called The Brutal Boy, she discovers in its protagonist, Klaus, a vehicle for her own transformation and ventures out into the city again this time dressed as a man.

    One thought on “The Blindfold”

    1. I recorded this review, previously for Bird Brian's Big Audio Project. You can listen at the following link: soundcloud/kris-rabbermanIn a Guardian interview from 2010, Siri Hustvedt describes herself as wanting "to write something with an uncanny feeling" a few years after her marriage to Paul Auster. At the time of her marriage, she had been writing poetry, but she shifted her focus and crafted this unsettling, haunting novel. On the surface, The Blindfold is about three years in the life of I [...]

    2. In Her Own WriteTo paraphrase a less hyperbolic comment by David Foster Wallace, the point of this review is that “The Blindfold” is an extraordinary novel.DFW described it as a “really good book” that is “clearly a feminist reworking of some of the central themes of [Don] DeLillo and his literary compadre, Paul Auster.”I don’t think this does justice to what Siri Hustvedt achieved in her own right. Nor does the following question from a “reader” on amazon:"Would this book have [...]

    3. The Blindfold by Siri Hustvedt tells the story of a young graduate student, Iris, and her relationships with four very different (but all very odd) men. The book was especially meaningful to me since I went to Columbia in the neighborhood where the story takes place.Iris is changed by each relationship she participates in. She wears the suit of a friend's brother and travels the street in disguise as a man called Klaus, the name of a character in a book she translates for one of her partners, a [...]

    4. I've been obsessively cataloguing my books for awhile now, and last year I decided to reacquire titles that I have lost to a previous relationship. It was quite a task, since A. and I were both voracious readers. The more I delve into my bookshelf the more I discover books gone missing. I can't remember now if I gave them away because I loved him, or because I loved the books so much that I have made them a constant presence in his life: I wanted him to read them and see pieces of my self tucked [...]

    5. It's just on 2am and I tore through the second half tonight; finishing it in just over 24 hours.WOW!I can't believe this was her debut, there's something in this that was missing from her later work, although seems to have returned in a The Blazing World.WOW!

    6. La historia está formada por cuatro partes protagonizadas por Iris Vegan, una joven estudiante de literatura de la Universidad de Columbia. Aunque parezcan relatos independientes, en realidad comparten un nexo en común. En la primera parte, Iris es contratada por un excéntrico personaje para que describa ciertos objetos, y grabe dichas descripciones. En la segunda parte, se narra la relación de Iris con su novio Stephen, y George, amigo de ambos y fotógrafo. En la tercera parte, la protagon [...]

    7. An intense, visceral debut novel telling a story of a literature student in New York in search of her identity. The book takes the form of a confessional monologue. The first three chapters are episodic, self contained and only tenuously linked by the narrative voice. The long fourth and final chapter puts them in context and introduces a darker psychological element. The tone throughout is cool, and the characters she meets are enigmatic and often slightly menacing. A gripping book, but a diffi [...]

    8. Certain books have to be read in a certain state of mind. I completely missed the point of this one. The only reason why I think this is, it's because currently I am really satisfied with my life. If we are talking about issues that are followed in this novella, then I can say that I am not over thinking and I am not analysing myself. When you read books like The blindfold, you have to go deep because it writes about search for identity. On the other hand, maybe this is my current lack of unders [...]

    9. I discovered this by going through the amazing archives of the fantastic website that's been devoted to all things David Foster Wallace for over a decade now: thehowlingfantods/dfwFor any serious fans of Wallace this site is a must-see, especially this section: thehowlingfantods/dfw/This section compiles every single essay, book review, and contribution of any kind he ever published and even gives a complete look at where excerpts from subsequent novels and short stories first were published and [...]

    10. Hustvedt, who is also a poet, presents us with four beautiful snapshots of a young woman in graduate school at Columbia, trying to pay her bills, understand her peers, and understand herself. Each section is so different, it's surprising they concern the same young woman, but the way the story lines end up fitting together is incredibly skillful and makes you rethink past sections and the characters involved. In one section, she takes a job describing in detail a collection of objects for a myst [...]

    11. El ritmo ha sido trepidante y, en muchos aspectos, podía sentir un vínculo psicológico con la protagonista. Además, ese ápice de ambigüedad y oscuridad en la narración, ha llenado de misterio unos retazos de vida cotidianos. En general, he estado muy cómoda en esta lectura, he tenido esa sensación de reencontrarme con una persona conocida. Esto, porque Hustvedt me devuelve de nuevo a un estado de lectura que me envuelve y transmite cercanía.

    12. This is not a book I would choose for myself, but I'm glad I read it with a group. The book is surreal and disturbing, but not necessarily in a good way, although it is very well written. I can't identify with the protagonist at all, particularly her complete surrender of identity to men, even a fictional one. However, the descriptions of her migraines and the distortions in perception are brilliant, and are a perfect metaphor for the distorted perceptions experienced by the protagonist in each [...]

    13. From The Blindfold:Distortion is part of desire. We always change the things we want.Weelllll then this book would be totally changed, because I truly did want it to be good. But it's self-indulgent, in a newly-minted MFA sort of way. Migrainey, isolated young college student in NYC (oh, but she's from the MIDWEST!) meets up with a series of odd men whom she finds somehow fascinating -- and, of course, destructive. Mostly, however, the narrator finds herself somehow fascinating. And, of course, [...]

    14. My mind is fried. Scrambled and shattered, a jumbled mess. And I owe it all to this book. ‘The Blindfold’ is impossible to sum up, but I intend to try. It was deliciously easy for me to delve into this story because in many ways, I am the protagonist, Iris. Iris Vegan is me on psychedelics (except she’s not on psychedelics). Our lives and psyches seem to overlap in the strangest ways, and even though I don’t believe in fate, I can’t help but feel that I was meant to pick up this book. [...]

    15. Είναι από τα βιβλία που επέλαξα να αγοράσω και να διαβάσω λόγω του τίτλου. Είχα διαβάσει στο παρελθόν από την Ευγενία Φακίνου ένα μυθιστόρημα με τον ίδιο τίτλο. Πιθανότατα είχα σκεφτεί να κάνω μια σύγκριση ανάμεσα στα δύο. Ουσιαστικά δεν γνώριζα τίποτε για την συγγραφέα Σίρ [...]

    16. "In good times I cry often, shedding tears easily, but when times are bad, my ducts go dry and I almost never weep."I'm not sure what to say about this book, really. There's too much. To explain it without spoilers wouldn't make any sense, but to go into depth about it would be to ruin the story, and I couldn't possibly do it justice. I just wanted to say that reading it made me feel sane. When I have those strange impulses to do stupid, odd or dangerous things, or when I think at how surreal li [...]

    17. My handful of friends will notice that I tend to read more books by an author I like. This is Siri Hustvedt's first novel: it focuses on a young graduate student at Columbia, Iris, who is rather like the narrator's sister in The Sorrow of an American in her hypersensitivity. Motifs: whispering, secrecy, appearance/reality split I finished the book, and I'm almost speechless. An engrossing, compelling novel.

    18. I read this when it first came out. It's spooky and really gets under your skin. Having said that, only one part of the description even rang a bell with me. Must be time to read it again.

    19. Read for Tales of the City module. This was my first Hustvedt and there was so much inside this novel that it's going to take me a while to fully digest everything inside it.I preferred the first two 'parts' over the other two - there seemed to be more structure and intrigue in them, and they reminded of specific parts of The New York Trilogy. The characterisation during the first half was haunting and to be honest this is the part I would be most likely to return to if I was to ever study this [...]

    20. 3.5 stars. Really like the first part, as it goes on it's still well written but a bit too much of literature students talking which is one of the most exhausting things in the world :)

    21. I finished this several days ago, but I'm still not entirely sure what to make of it. I connected so viscerally and immediately with The Blazing World, and I think I wasn't quite expecting to need to work so hard with this one. Interestingly, other readers thought The Blazing World required quite a bit of work, so perhaps there's a lesson for me in there somewhere. I think, on reflection, that what this book is at least partly about is loneliness. Not that "I wish I had a feller" loneliness, but [...]

    22. A friend recommended that I read the short story "Mr. Morning" and while trying to found a copy of it online we found that it, along with two more of Hustvedt's short stories, had been incorporated into this novel. Mr. Morning comprises the first chapter, and I felt was by far the most engaging part of the novel, if only because the titular character himself is so intriguing, and the idea and motivations for his project give pause for thought.Unfortunately, I didn't feel as though the rest of th [...]

    23. About 2/3 - 3/4 through, I knew I'd want/need to immediately re-read this in a different order and catch things I didn't catch the first time AS SOON as I finished. I have filled margins and eagerly scribbled themes/questions/arguments/inquiries to focus on for read 2.0. (i don't normally.)And now though, at the end, I kind of just want to kill myself and everyone else stuck in this zero sum nightmare. This constitutes, according to this book (SPOILERS)everyone.Instead, because idiotically I ret [...]

    24. Les quatre récits qui composent ce livre mettent en scène Iris Vegan, une jeune étudiante en littérature à l'université de Columbia. Dans le premier, à court d'argent, elle accepte de travailler pour M. Morning, pour qui elle doit décrire des objets de plus en plus bizarres, en respectant un protocole très précis. Sans savoir pourquoi, elle s'invente une fausse identité.Dans le deuxième récit, elle accepte de se laisser photographier par Georges, un ami de Stefen, son petit ami du m [...]

    25. What a different book from those I normally read. Another suggestion from an MPR listener, the book takes place in the '80's at Columbia University. The story is told in 3 parts of the life of a student and deal with identity or the loss of identity. There were some slighly otherworldly elements to it, not unlike Murikami, which I thoroughly enjoyed. For example, in the first story she gets a job describing objects that are given to her into a tape recorder in a husky whisper. She is instructed [...]

    26. I don't really know what to say about this. I enjoyed it alot but there again the style in which it's written always pulls me in. I didn't need the blurb on the back to invite me in, I suspect it's there to sell this to a literary' minded audience which is the one the publishers felt would understand the story the most but which unfortunately may not be the type of people who would apprieciate it. I suspect it's also been hi-jacked by the feminist brotherhood to promote their beliefs too how wom [...]

    27. The novel's allusions to the Odyssey are fitting as this is a story, several stories, about a young woman's voyage into her own psyche, how she grapples with identities over which she (I think anyone creative and open to life) has little control, how identities change depending on the people one is taken by. All the same, Iris holds her own through keen observation if nothing else, and this adds to the suspense because she is not at all predictable, though vulnerable. Hustvedt writes Iris's expe [...]

    28. A (highly) post-modern feminist tale told in several parts, all featuring the same protagonist, an easy-to-relate-to 20-something gal doing a PhD in something literary and esoteric at Columbia University. Her misadventures take her past the confines of Morningside Heights to the darker corners of New York City as she grapples with cross-dressing, illicit affairs, illness, murder, voyeurism, and the occasional grabby-male. Hustvedt's writing is simple and suspenseful, making this--her first novel [...]

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