Longlisted for the 2020 Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence
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., aka “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.