Hannah Rosefield

Sheila’s Friends

How Should a Person Be?


Harvill Secker 306pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

Sheila, the narrator of Sheila Heti’s How Should a Person Be?, is writing a play. The play has been commissioned by a feminist theatre company, and it has to be about women. This is a problem for the newly divorced Sheila who, for the entirety of her marriage, was concerned ‘only with men – my husband in particular’. Her artistic struggles overlap with her lifelong quest to discover how a person should be; how she, Sheila, should be. Should she aspire to celebrity? Or genius? Should she be ‘consistent, wise, loving and true’? Or would she be better off directing her energies elsewhere? ‘We live in an age of some really great blow-job artists,’ she reflects. ‘Every era has its art form. The nineteenth century, I know, was tops for the novel.’

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'Her favourite design included a body in the shape of a horse, with a steam engine inside ... The passenger would t… ,
    • Sign up to our email newsletter below! Get free articles, highlights from the archive, and chances to win theatre… ,
    • RT : Founded in 1979, is a trusted independent source for reviews of new books across a variety of genres. A… ,
    • RT : Here we are - "Shelf Indulgence" by Ed Potten, a wonderful read, well worth your time: @Lit_Review,
    • 'Like going to a party hoping to get away as quickly as politeness allowed and at 4am finding myself still engrosse… ,
    • 'Neville never shed his sense of being the junior, and perhaps least-deserving Chamberlain.' From the archive, Mic… ,
    • 'The erecting and immediate destruction of a series of straw men rather detracts from what is for the most part an… ,