Thursday, 15 June 2017

Book Review: Impossible Views of the World by Lucy Ives

Title: Impossible Views of the World
Author: Lucy Ives
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: 1 August 2017
Pages: 304
Format: eBook -PDF
Genre: Literary Fiction
Source: ARC via NetGalley




A witty, urbane, and sometimes shocking debut novel, set in a hallowed New York museum, in which a co-worker's disappearance and a mysterious map change a life forever Stella Krakus, a curator at Manhattan's renowned Central Museum of Art, is having the roughest week in approximately ever. Her soon-to-be ex-husband (the perfectly awful Whit Ghiscolmbe) is stalking her, a workplace romance with "a fascinating, hyper-rational narcissist" is in freefall, and a beloved colleague, Paul, has gone missing. Strange things are afoot: CeMArt's current exhibit is sponsored by a Belgian multinational that wants to take over the world's water supply, she unwittingly stars in a viral video that's making the rounds, and her mother--the imperious, impossibly glamorous Caro--wants to have lunch. It's almost more than she can overanalyze. But the appearance of a mysterious map, depicting a 19th-century utopian settlement, sends Stella--a dogged expert in American graphics and fluidomanie (don't ask)--on an all-consuming research mission. As she teases out the links between a haunting poem, several unusual novels, a counterfeiting scheme, and one of the museum's colorful early benefactors, she discovers the unbearable secret that Paul's been keeping, and charts a course out of the chaos of her own life. Pulsing with neurotic humor and dagger-sharp prose, Impossible Views of the World is a dazzling debut novel about how to make it through your early thirties with your brain and heart intact. (Goodreads Synopsis)


I don't know whether it's because I am around the same age as the protagonist, but I identified with Stella as a character from the first chapter. While not all her situations were familiar to me, I could relate to enough that I really felt for and understood her as she tried to puzzle out the drama surrounding her. Alongside the memorable characters and intriguing plot, I also fell in love with Ives' prose. So often these days, writers are told to dumb-down their text, omitting certain punctuation. It was, therefore, a breath of fresh air to read more complex, thoughtful sentences, with diverse grammar and phrasing. That alone was enough to make me fall in love with this book! Impossible Views of the World kept me invested in the characters and the action from start to finish and it was a thrill to pick it up each night and continue with the tale. For lovers of intellectually stimulating and thoughtful literary fiction, this book is a must read!

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