Sorrows of an American

The Sorrows of an American

by Siri Hustvedt

Arlene Almas: In "The Sorrows of an American" we are told the story of a family over three generations: David, a psychiatrist, the main character; his parents; and his grandparents. The family background is Norwegian, and the author gives us a good feel for their culture and ways of living and communicating with each other. David is close with his sister Inga and niece Sonia.

A woman, Miranda, with a young daughter named Eglantine (or "Eggy") rents the apartment in David's Brooklyn brownstone, and David's attempts to establish a relationship with her form a major part of the plot. The other major plot line involves information that David and Inga seek to discover about their father - they frequently go back to Minnesota to speak to various relatives and other people who can shed light on incidents which occurred many years ago. The author is very good at bringing all these characters to life, in both the present and the past, and at drawing the reader into David's current life and his search for a vital piece of his family's history.
Rating: *****

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