Synopses & Reviews
“A glittering novel about fate, fantasy, and the anonymity of urban life.” —O, The Oprah Magazine
“Read Visible City. Tova Mirvis’s graceful yet vigorous New York novel is about the half-inadvertent window-peeping that city life enables, and where it can lead.” —New York Magazine
After chaotic days of wrangling and soothing her young children, Nina spends her evenings spying on the quiet, contented older couple across the street. But one night, through her same window, she spies a young couple in the throes of passion. Who are these people, and what happened to her symbol of domestic happiness? Soon, Nina crosses paths with both couples on the streets of her Upper West Side neighborhood and, as anonymity gives way to different forms of intimacy, all begin to confront their own desires and disappointments. Shrewdly and artfully, Mirvis explores the boundaries between our own lives and the lives of others. From its lavish ghost subway stations to its hidden stained-glass windows, Visible City conjures a New York City teeming with buried treasures.
“An utterly perfect, deeply moving evocation of contemporary Manhattan [that] reminded me of Paula Fox and Laurie Colwin, and also those master chroniclers of the privileged classes, Wharton and Fitzgerald . . . Brilliant.” —Joanna Smith Rakoff, Salon.com
“Mirvis’s meticulously choreographed novel surprises and moves us.” —New York Times Book Review
Praise for the work of Tova Mirvis: “Full of verve and chutzpah.”—New York Times Book Review “Poignant, funny, sophisticated.”—Mademoiselle
"In a glittering novel about fate, fantasy, and the anonymity of urban life, a lonely New York City woman uses her sons toy binoculars to spy on couples whose intimacy she craves." - O, The Oprah Magazine
"Dark, witty...[This] comedy about deceptive appearances evolves into a moving examination of intimacys limitations." — Kirkus
"Mirvis focuses her artful prose on the inner lives of modern women and those they love as they face the possibilities of change." - Booklist
"Mirvis (The Ladies Auxiliary) writes an intimate story about different types of relationships, including those with complete strangers...In this story of chance and the temptation of change, Mirvis elicits the readers sympathy for her characters conflicting desires." —Publishers Weekly
"Such is Mirvis's finesse and insight that she leaves the reader completely sympathetic with each character's dilemmas…Visible City is a beautifully rendered novel that takes on art, parenting, betrayal and the nature of love.” —Shelf Awareness
"Charming...readers curiosity will be piqued." — BookPage
“With artful tenderness and elegant compassion, Tova Mirvis strips her upscale Manhattanites down to their naked loneliness and longings. Her novel is as jewel-like as a stained glass window. Mirvis supplies the light, and the result is dazzling.”—Rebecca Goldstein, MacArthur award-winning author of 36 Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction
“A fascinating maze of a novel, following the intersecting lives of two New York families as they come together and fall apart. Gorgeously written and enormously wise on the subjects of art, ambition, parenting, betrayal, and what it means to take care of the ones you love.” —Lauren Grodstein, author of A Friend of the Family
“Here the hidden is made stunningly visible. One by one, facades are stripped away and the luminous interiors of strangers' lives begin to emerge: in the view-field of a sleepless woman's binoculars, in the flashlight beams of subterranean urban explorers, in the radiance filtering through a long-lost stained glass window, and, always, in the light of Tova Mirvis's kaleidoscopic, tender vision. Visible City illuminates the hearts of both its characters and its readers.”—Rachel Kadish, author of Tolstoy Lied: A Love Story
“Visible City reminds us how strangers become intimates and intimates grow estranged. Mirvis writes with passion and unflinching honesty about the small grievances that accumulate until we no longer know the people we love.”—Joshua Henkin, author of The World Without You
Praise for the work of Tova Mirvis:
“Full of verve and chutzpah.”
—New York Times Book Review
“Poignant, funny, sophisticated.”
“In a glittering novel about fate, fantasy, and the anonymity of urban life, a lonely New York City woman uses her son’s toy binoculars to spy on couples whose intimacy she craves.” — O, The Oprah Magazine
“Mirvis’s meticulously choreographed novel surprises and moves us. She shows the city for what it is behind all its windows and walls: a vast constellation of those ‘truthful moments’ her heroine seeks, as numerous as the stars.” — New York Times Book Review
“A complex novel about intersecting lives . . . [that] paints a wry, funny portrait of an Upper West Side in turmoil, where harried mothers endlessly ponder their skills at ‘parenting’ . . . What makes Visible City interesting is Mirvis’s humane, intelligent perception of the emotional lives of her characters.” — Wall Street Journal
“Read Visible City. Mirvis’s graceful yet vigorous New York novel is about the half-inadvertent window-peeping that city life enables, and where it can lead.” — New York Magazine
“Both a paean and a lament for a world contained within one neighborhood . . . [Visible City] brilliantly unfurls connections that overlap and intersect between strangers and lovers . . . Arresting.” — Jewish Daily Forward
“Mirvis won me over with her empathy with her characters, whose inner lives she probes with subtle insight and style in Visible City . . . Achingly well told.” — Minneapolis Star Tribune
“In this story of three unfulfilled couples living in Manhattan, Mirvis captures a prevalent inner struggle: the desire for change versus the fear of the unknown . . . Through these characters’ feelings of fear, regret, and discontent, I was reminded never to lose sight of what brings me happiness.” — Real Simple, a Best Book of 2014
“Such is Mirvis’s finesse and insight that she leaves the reader completely sympathetic with each character’s dilemmas . . . Visible City is a beautifully rendered novel that takes on art, parenting, betrayal and the nature of love.” — Shelf Awareness
“Mirvis writes tenderly of love and loneliness, chance encounters and tough decisions. She captures the competitive edge of mothers so devoted to their kids’ enrichment and, also, their own buried feelings of desperation. With humor, she gets the details right . . . [and] masterfully renders life along upper Broadway and Riverside Park.” — Jewish Week
“By the time she has knitted up all the delicate threads of her story, Mirvis reveals that freedom often involves the acceptance of responsibility, rather than simply casting off the fetters that bind us to daily life. Through Nina’s eyes, she offers a radiant vision of her characters’ newly discovered liberation and of the infinitely complex, extraordinary city in which that kind of reinvention can come to feel like a possibility every day.” — Bookreporter.com
“Mirvis writes an intimate story about different types of relationships, including those with complete strangers . . . In this story of chance and the temptation of change, Mirvis elicits the reader’s sympathy for her characters’ conflicting desires.” — Publishers Weekly
“Dark, witty . . . [This] comedy about deceptive appearances evolves into a moving examination of intimacy’s limitations.” — Kirkus Reviews
For fans of Meg Wolitzer and Allegra Goodman, an intimate and provocative novel about three couples whose paths intersect in their New York City neighborhood, forcing them all to weigh the comfort of stability against the costs of change
For fans of Meg Wolitzer and Allegra Goodman, an intimate and provocative novel about three couples whose paths intersect in their New York City neighborhood, forcing them all to weigh the comfort of stability against the costs of change. Nina is a harried young mother who spends her evenings spying on the older couple across the street through her sons Fisher-Price binoculars. She is drawn to their quiet contentment—reading on the couch, massaging each others feet—so unlike her own lonely, chaotic world of nursing and soothing and simply getting by. One night, through that same window, she spies a young couple in the throes of passion. Who are these people, and what happened to her symbol of domestic bliss?
In the coming weeks, Nina encounters the older couple, Leon and Claudia, their daughter Emma and her fiancé, and many others on the streets of her Upper West Side neighborhood, eroding the safe distance of her secret vigils. Soon anonymity gives way to different—and sometimes dangerous—forms of intimacy, and Nina and her neighbors each begin to question their own paths.
With enormous empathy and a keen observational eye, Tova Mirvis introduces a constellation of characters we all know: twenty-somethings unsure about commitments they havent yet made; thirty-somethings unsure about the ones they have; and sixty-somethings whose empty nest causes all sorts of doubt. Visible City invites us to examine those all-important forks in the road, and the conflict between desire and loyalty.
A Real Simple Best Book of 2014“A glittering novel about fate, fantasy, and the anonymity of urban life.” — O, The Oprah Magazine
“Mirvis's meticulously choreographed novel surprises and moves us.” — New York Times Book Review
“Graceful yet vigorous.” — New York Magazine
From the window of her Manhattan apartment, Nina spends her evenings watching the older couple across the street. She is drawn to their quiet contentment, so unlike her own lonely, chaotic world of child rearing. One night, through that same window, she spies a young couple in the throes of passion. In the coming weeks, Nina encounters both the older couple and the young lovers on the streets of her neighborhood, and as anonymity gives way to different — and sometimes dangerous — forms of intimacy, Nina and her neighbors each begin to question their own paths.
With a “humane, intelligent perception of the emotional lives of her characters” (Wall Street Journal), Mirvis conjures a New York City teeming with buried treasures, casualties of a metropolis always in flux; not unlike its inhabitants, who must confront their own hidden desires and, eventually, weigh the comforts of stability against the urge for change.
Elinor Lipman's trenchant and witty novel about a father and daughter reunited.
A hysterical phone call from his ex-wife and a familiar face in a photograph upend Henry Archer's life. Henry is a lawyer, an old-fashioned man, gay, successful, and lonely. Thalia, his stepdaughter from a misbegotten marriage, is now twenty-nine, an actress, hopeful and estranged from her newly widowed crackpot mother. Hoping it will lead to better things for her career, Thalia poses as the girlfriend of a former sitcom star and current horror-movie luminary who is down on his romantic luck. When Thalia and her complicated social life move into the basement of Henrys Upper West Side townhouse, she finds a champion in her long-lost father, and he finds new life—and maybe even new love—in the commotion.
About the Author
TOVA MIRVIS is the author of The Outside World and The Ladies Auxiliary, which was a national bestseller. Her essays have appeared in various anthologies and newspapers including The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, and Poets and Writers, and her fiction has been broadcast on National Public Radio. She has been a Visiting Scholar at The Brandeis Women’s Studies Research Center and is a recipient of a Massachusetts Cultural Council Fiction Fellowship. She lives in Newton, MA with her three children.