Prentiss’s first novel is about art: making it, loving it and letting it go. And the book itself is a work of artistry...[T]he writing — authentic and frenetic — makes the material feel fresh. I’ve been there, done that, but I held my breath the whole way.
Lucy’s character is pallid in contrast to the shining oddity of James or the gruff magnetism of Raul. She’s a country girl in the big city, who wants something, but she’s not sure what. Lucy works as little more than an implement Prentiss uses to hold together a number of skeins in a complicated plot driven by the mystical momentum of New York and the exigencies and consolations of art. These big, well-worn topics give the novel a breathless quality that can veer into melodrama ... All of Prentiss’s characters are propelled by some nameless yearning that dictates the things they do in this strange moment in their frenetic city. It’s a sentimental story that’s been told a 100 times, but Prentiss finds a way to set down her characters’ flowering elegance in a delightful way.
[Prentiss's] sensual linguistic flourishes exquisitely evoke the passions we can feel for people and places we've known or are discovering ... There are riveting plots and subplots. A mother is separated from her child. A brother abandons his sister. An artist is rendered unable to paint. A city sells its soul. Still, the book's magnificence remains in its shadings, descriptive and emotional. Toward the end, you'll find yourself turning the pages slowly, sorry to realize you're almost finished.