His Vision of Her

G. D. Dess, Author HarperCollins Publishers $17.95 (308p) ISBN 978-0-06-015931-3
As its title suggests, this observant first novel filters its portrait of a woman through the somewhat deluded sensibilities of a male narrator. Stephen, a failed writer entering middle age, lives comfortably but without happiness or passion in New York's SoHo. Managing a bookstore, he nurses his depression with alcohol and semi-anonymous sex, mostly with men. When he discovers Gilberte, an ambitious young photographer searching for an artistic voice, he becomes obsessed by the possibility of becoming both her lover and her Svengali, using her to escape his own emotional and creative stagnation. His nemesis is Kristine, a wealthy, manipulative dabbler in art who has different ideas about the direction Gilberte's sexual and esthetic preferences should take. Using a procession of gallery openings, cocktail parties and loft screenings, Dess charts the cultural geography of New York's downtown art scene with care and arch wit. But his coldly accurate depiction of petty jealousies and deadened lives suffers from the limitations of its maddeningly passive narrator, and an object of obsession who's much too shallow to merit such interest. (May)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
Paperback - 356 pages - 978-0-9985589-4-3
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