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Violet Clay: A Novel by Gail Godwin
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Violet Clay: A Novel

by Gail Godwin

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The story of a young artist's coming of age, Violet Clay explores a woman's efforts to come to terms with a life that has turned out quite differently from her expectations. Violet Clay, orphaned as a small child, shuffled through boarding schools, finds her adult self with only one family member to speak of, her uncle Ambrose, a troubled writer. Ambrose has never managed to finish his second book, and Violet has failed to become an artist of note. A move to New York brings Violet little success. Eight years after her move she finds herself stagnating at art, life, and love. When Ambrose commits suicide, Violet takes the opportunity to move to her uncle's remote upstate cabin to try and reinvent her life. Godwin does an excellent job of creating complex worlds around her characters, and Violet Clay is no exception. Violet's history and psyche are richly drawn, and Godwin deftly recreates Charleston, New York City, and upstate New York. I did find some of Violet's relationships to be somewhat tiresome. Indeed, Violet herself is tiresome, the poster child for a navel-gazing artist's personality. Still, this is an intruiging book: more interesting than the story of an artist trying to figure herself out might seem. ( )
1 vote lahochstetler | Apr 21, 2010 |
4684. Violet Clay, by Gail Godwin (read 15 Mar 2010) The eponymous character is an orphan from Charleston, S.C., who is a painter and goes to New York City to attempt to make her mark in painting. The account tells of her various successive fellow fornicators, her struggles to achieve renown, her uncle and his life and trial as a would-be novelist, and ends with Violet living in the Adirondacks on a acreage given her by her grandfather. I found the book readable mostly, though her efforts to establish herself as a painter often bored me. I prefer my heroines to have some conception of morality, but Violet evinces none so I could not empathize with her. I doubt I will read anything else by Gail Godwin. Should I? ( )
  Schmerguls | Mar 15, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 034538993X, Paperback)

Violet Clay had come to New York City from Charleston to take the art world by storm. But nine years, many affairs, and thousands of drinks later, the reality of her shadow life is made clear when she is fired from her job as a freelance illustrator. That same day, she hears that her beloved Uncle Ambrose, an unsuccessful writer, has shot himself.

As Violet collects the shattered pieces of her uncle's life, she is forced to face herself and her own tattered dreams. And what she discovers is that she has just been going through the motions of living. She's not even sure she can do anything else. But she's in her mid-thirties and knows she still has time to try again. If she succeeds, she will have broken from her family of dreamers forever and can deservedly claim both the rich rewards and frustrating adversities of the artist's life....

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:23 -0400)

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