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Feast Your Eyes: A Novel by Myla Goldberg

Feast Your Eyes: A Novel (edition 2019)

by Myla Goldberg (Author)

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433398,383 (4.08)7
Title:Feast Your Eyes: A Novel
Authors:Myla Goldberg (Author)
Info:Scribner (2019), 336 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Signed, First Edition, Odyssey Book Club

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Feast Your Eyes: A Novel by Myla Goldberg



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In her latest novel, Goldberg tries something new: writing the entire book in the form of a photography exhibition catalog--yet we never see a single photograph. The gallery number, title, and date of each photo appear, followed by commentary by the artist's daughter, friends and ex-lovers, and letters and journal entries written by the artist herself. The works range from the 1950s, when Lillian Preston rejects her parents' plan for her college education and moves to New York to pursue her passion in photography, to her death from leukemia in 1977. A quiet woman, Lillian nevertheless manages to choose her own path. When she finds herself pregnant at 19, she declines an abortion at the last minute and rejects her parents' offer to "help" (by sending her off to a distant relative to have the child and give it up for adoption). She struggles to keep herself and her daughter Samantha afloat financially, even rejecting another offer of marriage, but she never stops taking photos. A breaking point almost comes when a small gallery show results in arrest and obscenity charges over "the Samantha series" that depicts Lillian's daughter in semi-undress. These include what becomes an infamous photo, "Mommy Is Sick," in which Samantha offers a glass of milk to her bedridden, bloodstained mother whop has just had an abortion. (No spoilers here--the photo and the incident are described in the novel's first pages.) The incident caused changes in the mother-daughter relationship that are the focus of most of the novel. In that sense, it is a coming of age novel, but it also tackles questions about parenting, art, friendship, and morality. Mann draws on cultural keystones throughout: the Beats, Sputnik, the Kennedy assassination, the Vietnam War protests, punk rock, Saturday Night Live. The structure provides a means of presenting multiple points of view without the usual practice of ascribing alternating chapters to different narrators. As a result, the conflicts between and feelings of each character are more immediate.

It has been almost a decade since Goldberg's last book, but Feast Your Eyes is well worth the wait. ( )
1 vote Cariola | Jun 12, 2019 |
This book is written like a museum catalog or a scrapbook. I didn't care for the style of writing, and was disappointed as I was looking forward to reading it. ( )
  kerryp | Apr 30, 2019 |
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"After discovering photography as a teenager through her high school's photo club, Lillian rejects her parents' expectations of college and marriage and moves to New York City in 1955. When a small gallery exhibits partially nude photographs of Lillian and her daughter, Samantha, Lillian is arrested, thrust into the national spotlight, and targeted with an obscenity charge. Mother and daughter's sudden notoriety changes the course of both of their lives and especially Lillian's career as she continues a lifelong quest for artistic legitimacy and recognition. Narrated by Samantha, Feast Your Eyes reads as a collection of Samantha's memories, interviews with Lillian's friends and lovers, and excerpts from Lillian's journals and letters--a collage of stories and impressions, together amounting to an astounding portrait of a mother and an artist dedicated, above all, to a vision of beauty, truth, and authenticity."--… (more)

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