From the award-winning author of Minor Characters comes a haunting story about the persistence of love and the sustaining and destabilizing power of memories. In the vibrant downtown Manhattan art world of the 1960s, where men and women collide in "lucky and unlucky convergences," a series of love affairs has left Joanna Gold, a young photographer, feeling numbed. Then, at yet another party, a painter named Tom Murphy walks up to her. "Why do you hang back?" he asks. Rather than another brief collision, their relationship is the profound and ecstatic love each had longed to find. But it’s undermined by Tom’s harrowing past - his fatherless childhood, his wartime experiences, and most of all, the loss of the two children he left behind in Florida, along with the powerful red, white, and black paintings he will never set eyes on again. Tom, both tender and volatile, draws Joanna into the unwinnable struggle against the forces that drive him toward death.
Once again, Joyce Johnson brings to life a mythic bohemian world where art is everything and life is as full of intensity and risk as the bold sweep of a painter’s brush across a canvas.
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About the Author
Joyce Johnson was born in 1935 in New York City, the setting for all her fiction: Come and Join the Dance , recognized as the first Beat novel by a woman writer, Bad Connections , and In the Night Café. She is best known for her memoir Minor Characters , which won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1983 and dealt with coming of age in the 1950s and with her involvement with Jack Kerouac. She has published two other Beat-related books: Door Wide Open: A Beat Love Affair in Letters , and The Voice Is All: The Lonely Victory of Jack Kerouac. She has also written a second memoir, Missing Men, and the nonfiction title What Lisa Knew: The Truths and Lies of the Steinberg Case.