Impossible Views of the World Summary and Reviews

Impossible Views of the World

by Lucy Ives

Impossible Views of the World by Lucy Ives
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  • Published in USA  Aug 2017
    304 pages
    Genre: Novels

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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.

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Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Yes! A diversion and a pleasure, this novel leaves you feeling smarter and hipper than you were before." - Kirkus

"Ives's prose and storytelling feel deliberately obtuse at times, requiring readers to slow down to fully immerse themselves in the narrative's nuances, but the result is an odd and thoroughly satisfying novel." - Publishers Weekly

"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

"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

"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

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Lucy Ives was born in New York City and received a B.A. from Harvard University, an M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and a Ph.D. in comparative literature from New York University. She is the author of Amamnesis, Nineties, Orange Roses, The Worldkillers, The Hermit, and Impossible Views of the World. For five years an editor of Triple Canopy, Ives continues to live in New York and currently teaches at the Pratt Institute.

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