Friday, June 17, 2016

Book Review: Tuesday Nights in 1980 by Molly Prentiss

Synesthesia: a subjective sensation or image of a sense (as of color) other than the one (as of sound) being stimulated.

Imagine tasting wild strawberries upon meeting your future spouse, or knowing certain letters and numbers should be green, that applesauce tastes like sadness, and the word "mother" smells like citrus.  James, the main character of this unusual novel, puts his condition to use in writing unique critiques of artists' work for the New York Times.  Synesthesia allows him to communicate with art in a new way, and to write about art in a way no one else can. 

The reader is immersed into the art world of New York in the 1980's, introduced to quirky characters and their expressions of art -- art as essence rather than object, art as action. "Artworks were meant to provide pleasure, not income, and art was not about fame but about feeling."

Relationships and human interactions pull us into this story and keep us interested in the lives of James, his wife and friends, and how they deal with disappointment, challenges and change.  And being artists ourselves, we enjoy being part of their world.  "That's what an artist is," says James.  "Someone whose way of looking at the world -- just their gaze--is already an idea in itself!" 

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