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Impossible Views of the World Hardcover – August 1, 2017
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Pre-order today
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“[An] intricate, darkly funny debut…There is so much going on in this novel, so many sharp observations packed into sentences as sensual and jarring as a Mardi Gras parade, that it bears a second look…Ives, an accomplished poet, infuses even mundane actions with startling imagery…Read this book on whichever level you choose: you woman coming unglued, art world mystery or museum-based episode of ‘The Office,’ replete with petty workplace drama, aged PCs and the occasional colleague marching ‘up and down the hall, loudly, in quest of a staple remover.’ It’s a smart novel brimming with ideas about love, art, personal agency, a lack thereof.” —The New York Times Book Review
“It’s rare to find both a page-turner and a thoughtful take on labor, art institutions, and personal agency in one text, but Ives not only pulls it off but makes it look effortless. I wish everything I picked up was as smart and funny and human as this novel.” — Catapult
“I first knew Lucy Ives's work as a poet, and to have her prose is a gift, too. The detailed novel she's built with such authenticity, wit, and feeling is remarkable for its vitality, insights, and lyrical view of a changing world.” —Hilton Als, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of White Girls
“An archival treasure hunt yields riches for the heart-worn young curator in Lucy Ives’s ultracharming fiction debut, Impossible Views of the World, though it’s the author’s tart observations of present-day social pretensions that sparkle brightest.” —Vogue
“This book was written by a rampaging, mirthful genius. It stands before me like a runestone, magical, mysterious—an esoteric juggernaut masquerading as a 'debut novel.' During the days I spent reading it, I said goodbye to all else." —Elizabeth McKenzie, author of The Portable Veblen
“Cool and bracing…a perfect summer pleasure…An accomplished poet, Ives also knows how to delight sentence by sentence, with turns of phrase that cry to be underlined or Tweeted…Part send-up of the Manhattan art world, part elaborate literary mystery, the novel is bound together by a voice that is at turns deadpan and warm, shot through with a crisp irony that makes it tempting to declare it the literary equivalent of an Alex Katz painting…It’s a singular work, worthy of a place in any world-class collection.” —Vogue.com
“Diehard Da Vinci Code fans will find a new heroine in Stella, the code-cracking art curator at the center of this clever mystery.” —Cosmopolitan
“An art historical mystery that will interest fans of Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch, with a narrator equal parts intellectual, ironic, and cool…Scintillating…A diversion and a pleasure, this novel leaves you feeling smarter and hipper than you were before.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred)
“An original debut ringing with smart prose, engaging humor and cultivated taste…Ives’ genius is apparent in the intricate way she weaves ironic confession, romantic comedy and artful treatise with explorations into the historic art world…Full of intelligence and imagination, this relatable literary mystery will charm even the most apprentice art devotee.” —BookPage
“Stella is like Hannah Horvath from Girls—smart, with an equal tendency toward snark and introspection—living in From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. The novel sends up the museum world, with pretentious art folks courting corporate dollars and the usual office politics, but maintains a sense of something larger, even magical, working in the background.”
“The charm and energy of Impossible Views of the World rest in Ives’s uncanny eye for the subtle tells of romance, the idiosyncrasies of the NYC young, and the details of 19th-century furniture and art…A clever curatorial mystery, a love-gone-wrong rom-com or a sharp-witted story of a young New York woman, Impossible Views of the World is way more fun than a rainy afternoon in the American Objects wing of a cavernous museum.” —Shelf Awareness
“[A] smart and singular debut novel…Ives maximizes her story’s humor with subtlety; a line here and there is enough to call attention to the absurdity of, for instance, the museum’s corporate benefactor’s attempt to secure the world’s water rights. She also isn’t afraid to make her heroine unlikable, which works in the novel’s favor…odd and thoroughly satisfying.” — Publishers Weekly
"There are abundant pleasures to be found in Lucy Ives’s debut novel about art curation, corporate control, and utopia (among many other subjects and digressions), but the best is the poetic, elegant intelligence of its narration, vocalized by Stella Krakus, whose every sentence wryly climbs from the ridiculous to the sublime." —Teddy Wayne, author of Loner and The Love Song of Jonny Valentine
“Lucy Ives, a deeply smart and painstakingly elegant writer, wins the prize with this intricate, droll, stylish book—at once a mystery novel, a romantic comedy, a tricky essay on aesthetics, an exposé of art-world foibles, and a diary of emotional distress. With sharp phrases, uncanny plot-turns, and mise-en-abymes galore, this mesmerizing tale radiates the haute irreality of Last Year at Marienbad and the dreamy claustrophobia of The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, this time for adults only.” —Wayne Koestenbaum, author of My 1980s and Other Essays
About the Author
Lucy Ives is the author of several books of poetry and short prose, including The Hermit and the novella nineties. Her writing has appeared in Artforum, Lapham’s Quarterly, and at newyorker.com. For five years she was an editor with the online magazine Triple Canopy. A graduate of Harvard and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she holds a Ph.D. in comparative literature from New York University. She teaches at the Pratt Institute and is currently editing a collection of writings by the artist Madeline Gins.
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The idea, I guess, is that our heroine is under a lot of pressure, and is keeping it all together and is trying to move forward, even while everything around her is either overwhelming, or falling apart, or just confusing. This translates into a manner of thinking and reacting and regretting and coping that is just as fragmented and conflicted. I've read lots of books that try to describe that state of mind or portray it, but I don't think I've ever read a book the structure of which so subtly and effectively gets that idea across.
Examples are always problematic, because out of context they may not make one's point. But let me try here. At one point Stella is trying to have a conversation with her boss, who is sort of babbling. Here's Stella's next move - "I wasn't sure how many more mixed metaphors Bonnie would want to put me through before we could come at last to the possibility of literal speech. I decided to be direct. 'How are you doing?'". To me, this is a smart, funny, and insightful way for the author to show us exasperated, impatient, and prickly Stella.
So, regardless of the plot, or the twists, or how the story develops, the actual writing, (that is, the way Stella thinks and speaks), is the real and fascinating star of the show. And whether she is cracking wise, analyzing her romantic life, stewing about her mother, reassessing her life with her ex-husband, or navigating the insular and oppressive art museum world she inhabits, Stella is always worth listening to.
(Please note that I received a free advance ecopy of this book without a review requirement, or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)
Most recent customer reviews
Too much dissertation. Not enoughst