WYSO

Book Nook: Tuesday Nights in 1980, by Molly Prentiss

May 18, 2016

Manhattan was once a place where ordinary people could afford to live. People with dreams. People with low paying jobs. Even starving artists. Molly Prentiss has set her debut novel in New York City as the 1970's are ending. Her book is populated by distinctive characters from the period; a barmaid who has followed her dreams and moved to the city from the wilds of Idaho, an art critic for the New York Times who has a rare perceptive gift, and a struggling painter who has fled the Dirty Wars in his native Argentina.

These three characters are destined to intersect is some very challenging ways. Flitting around the periphery of this complex tale are the brilliant ghosts of dead painters named Basquiat and Haring. Today their works sell for massive sums. In 1980 they were starving artists destined to burn brightly then die young.

The author employs some experimental literary devices. It took her many years to write this book. In our interview she talks about the arduous process of crafting her manuscript. There was a lot of hard work involved. It is an impressive debut.