A young novelist discovers her genius, one question at a time
How Should a Person Be?:
A Novel from Life
by Sheila Heti
$25.00 List Price
“One good thing about being a woman is we haven’t too many examples yet of what a genius looks like,” Sheila Heti’s protagonist, also named Sheila, deadpans. “It could be me.” With some shame in her ambitious conviction, Heti believes her own genius might lie in the transcription of the everyday—that the particulars of her life as a young woman artist can show us what’s human. Recorded dialogue, e-mails, and brutally self-effacing passages fill short chapters of this “novel from life,” united in an uninhibited first-person performance: Her tone can be earnest and eager to please, flippant and crass, terribly lucid and darkly funny. In her quest for greatness, she holds out the absurd possibility that she’s like Moses—an inspiration that reappears throughout Heti’s novel in vivid détournements of the book of Exodus.
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