House of Anansi Press

How Should a Person Be?

Written by Sheila Heti

Published September 25, 2010 | ISBN 9780887842405
FICTION / Literary

Cover of How Should a Person Be?

Regular price $29.95 CAD

288 pages | 7.75 in × 5.5 in
Print Format

Also Available as an Ebook

About this book

How Should a Person Be?

Sheila Heti

Longlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction, and selected as a New York Times Notable Book and Huffington Post Best Book

From the internationally acclaimed author of The Middle Stories and Ticknor comes a bold interrogation into the possibility of a beautiful life. How Should a Person Be? is a novel of many identities: an autobiography of the mind, a postmodern self-help book, and a fictionalized portrait of the artist as a young woman — of two such artists, in fact.

For reasons multiple and mysterious, Sheila finds herself in a quandary of self-doubt, questioning how a person should be in the world. Inspired by her friend Margaux, a painter, and her seemingly untortured ability to live and create, Sheila casts Margaux as material, embarking on a series of recordings in which nothing is too personal, too ugly, or too banal to be turned into art. Along the way, Sheila confronts a cast of painters who are equally blocked in an age in which the blow job is the ultimate art form. She begins questioning her desire to be Important, her quest to be both a leader and a pupil, and her unwillingness to sacrifice herself.

Searching, uncompromising and yet mordantly funny, How Should a Person Be? is a brilliant portrait of art-making and friendship from the psychic underground of Canada's most fiercely original writer.

About the Author

Sheila Heti

Sheila Heti is the acclaimed author of the novel How Should a Person Be?, which was named a New York Times Notable Book, the story collection The Middle Stories, and the novel Ticknor, which was a finalist for the Trillium Book Award. Her writing has appeared in various publications, including the New York Times, London Review of Books, Globe and Mail, n+1, McSweeney's and The Believer. She frequently collaborates with other writers and artists. Sheila Heti lives in Toronto.

Awards and Praise
  • Commended Huffington Post Best Books, 2012
  • Long-listed ReLit Awards: Novel, 2011
  • Long-listed Women's Prize for Fiction, 2013
  • Commended New York Times Notable Books, 2012