Siri Hustvedt was born in 1955 and grew up in rural Minnesota. Her father was American and her mother Norwegian. In 1978, she moved to New York to study history at Columbia University. She also has a Ph.D. in English, and she later went on to become a scholar as well as an internationally acclaimed novelist and essayist. She is married to Paul Auster, who is also an acclaimed author, and they have one daughter, Sophie.

Hustvedt’s works often center around topics such as identity, the human psyche and perception, and these characteristics are visible in “Living With Strangers” too. In this essay she explores a key element in the identity of modern city dwellers: how we deal with the the many (sometimes odd) strangers we meet every day.

She also reflects on how we percei...

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