The first thunderclap for TUESDAY NIGHTS IN 1980
The first trade review is out for debut novelist Molly Prentiss and it is a thunderclap from Kirkus: “This is a portrait of an era, an intoxicating Manhattan fairy tale.” “A thrilling debut.” Tuesday Nights in 1980 is set in SoHo over the course of one year in the downtown art world, and it full-on knocked me out. I was vibrating with excitement as I read this novel — It reminded me of the New York City that I love and of the city as it was when I arrived here – when it was gritty and dirty and pulsing with energy, everything seemed possible, everything was new, anything could happen. Somehow, (how?), Molly Prentiss has captured all of it. The energy, the excitement, the feeling of possibility, the ups, the downs. Mark my words: Molly Prentiss is a writer to watch. Glad to see the Kirkus reviewer agrees! (We still have some advance copies available – let me know if you’d like one for review. Scout Press pub date: April 5, 2016).
“Prentiss’ sweeping debut follows three intertwining lives through the swirling energy, burning excitement, and crushing disappointment of New York City’s rapidly shifting art world at the dawn of the 1980s.
It’s Dec. 31, 1979, and James Bennett, a synesthetic rising star of art criticism, and his also-brilliant pregnant wife are toasting the new decade at the kind of swanky art-scene party they prefer to avoid. Also at the party: painter Raul Engales, a charismatic Argentinian expatriate who’s done his best to erase his past life and is now poised, though he doesn’t know it yet, to become the darling of the art world. And: in a bar downtown later that night, Raul catches the (gorgeous) eye of 21-year-old Lucy Marie Olliason, recently transplanted from Ketchum, Idaho, in love with the city, and ready to fall in love with the artists in it. Their stories crash into each other like dominoes – the critic, the artist, and the muse-their separate futures and personal tragedies inextricably linked. The particulars of their connections, romantic and artistic, are too big and too poetic to be entirely plausible, but then, this is not a slice-of-life novel: this is a portrait of an era, an intoxicating Manhattan fairy tale. Prentiss’ characters-rich, nuanced, satisfyingly complicated-are informed not only by their emotional lives, but also by their intellectual and artistic ones; their relationships to art are as lively and essential as their relationships to each other. But while the novel is elegantly infused with an ambient sense of impending loss-this is New York on the cusp of drastic gentrification- it miraculously manages to dodge the trap of easy nostalgia, thanks in large part to Prentiss’ wry humor.
As affecting as it is absorbing. A thrilling debut.” — Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review