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Tuesday Nights in 1980

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  3,385 ratings  ·  518 reviews
A transcendent debut novel that follows a critic, an artist, and a desirous, determined young woman as they find their way—and ultimately collide—amid the ever-evolving New York City art scene of the 1980s.

Welcome to SoHo at the onset of the eighties: a gritty, not-yet-gentrified playground for artists and writers looking to make it in the big city. Among them: James Benne
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published April 5th 2016 by Gallery/Scout Press
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Peggah Ghoreishi I think this describes the time when Raoul first goes to America and leaves Franca alone. In 1980, Franca's son is about 5-6 years old, so that makes…moreI think this describes the time when Raoul first goes to America and leaves Franca alone. In 1980, Franca's son is about 5-6 years old, so that makes the timeline okay.(less)

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3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,385 ratings  ·  518 reviews

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Andrew Smith
Mar 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
The story of three people from different backgrounds whose paths cross in New York City in the course of a year. Well, in truth, it’s more than that – much, much more than that.

Raul Engales is an Argentinian who left Buenos Aires in his twenties leaving his sister, Franca, and her new husband behind. He planned to forge a new life in America. He’d always painted and he dreamt of finding fame and fortune in the Big Apple. He’d been lucky enough to inherit an American passport by benefit of the fa
Elyse Walters
Jan 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A wonderfully satisfying novel. Molly Prentiss knows how to craft a story!!!! Her prose has energy .... alternating delightful and hilarious and deeply affecting.

Lives collide between an art critic, a painter, and a girl from small town Idaho.
Relationships.... love, betrayal, forgiveness, and art, [Emotionally and intellectually charged], changed lives forever in Manhattan in 1980.

TERRIFIC novel!!!!!!
Diane S ☔
Dec 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
New York, on the cusp of 1980, the changing art scene of Soho before it became officially known as Soho. Following the lives of three individuals for the next year: Lucy in her early twenties coming from Idaho to experience life in a big city, James who after college has no clue what to do and whose unique ability enables him to see colors and paintings in a unique way will find himself the reigning critic of the art world and Raul, escaping the post Peron Dirty War in Argentina as well as his s ...more
May 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book and was not ready for it to end. I also loved reading about this time period in New York. I was however hoping to find out more about the three main characters in the end... we are left to wonder...
I loved this book. Oh to be in NYC in the 80's during the time when art was hip and powerful. The book tells the story of three souls just trying to make it in New York in the early 80's. The author captures so beautifully the gritty, raw, bohemian lifestyle of this time in history. The story is about three different people - Lucy, James, and Raul - and how their lives converge. The book rotates between these characters during one year of their lives and after tragic circumstances how much their ...more
Marilyn C.
Apr 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
An impressive debut novel, Molly Prentiss brings you right into the Soho art scene, circa 1980. Written in a unique prose, the story mainly focuses on three interesting main characters and their intersecting lives: James, an oddball art critic with synesthesia, Raul, a talented artist from Argentina and Lucy, a young, small town girl trying to find her way in NYC.
I really enjoyed reading about the changing art scene during this time, and the 1980's references that the author brought into the st
Jessica Sullivan
This is one of the most emotionally satisfying books I've read in a long time. The character development is deep — almost to the point of being excessive, but this is the kind of book I love most. I want to know every little thing. The characters in this book are fully drawn; they feel like real people with real fears and real failures and real hopes and real love.

Tuesday Nights in 1980 is about three people in the New York City arts scene whose lives will become inextricably linked, three peopl
Jan 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-favorites
By page 25, I was already in love with Tuesday Nights in 1980. It has everything I crave in a book: beautiful, smart writing, characters I want to know and a fascinating setting- the art world in 1980 New York City. Amazingly, it did not disappoint me as I read on. It engaged me emotionally and intellectually and kept surprising me. I loved, loved this novel!
"She woke up the next morning to see the still-wet picture of herself, knowing forever had started, if forever were what forever felt like, which was a year in New York City when you were in love."

Do you dream of New York?

For those of us that don't live there and perhaps even for those of us that do, I think we all dream of New York to some extent. It's that place on earth that we imagine everything to be more vibrant, more real somehow. New York is my fantasy book setting. It's my million wo
A debut well worth looking forward to more people being able to read next year. Some of the most vibrant and expressive writing about art and the art scene I've ever read.
Please read the book description given here: Tuesday Nights in 1980.

I have only heard praise for this book; I was expecting a lot. Tell me, who isn't going to be drawn to a book revolving around New York's SoHo art world of the 70s-80, synesthesia and an exiled painter running from his past and Argentina's Dirty War? If you go into a book with high expectations you are easily disappointed. I was disappointed. I'll explain why. Do remember that if I give a book two stars it is OK.

The author wri
Olive (abookolive)
Oct 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lit-fic
Jan 26, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars
Jeanne Thornton
May 25, 2016 rated it it was ok
There is some narrative inventiveness here, but to what end?

My favorite part is the late conversation between Marge and James about why James gets to be The Genius and Marge has to do all of the shitty work of their lives. That was great. Why was the whole book not about that, really calling into question the purpose of Art Success? At one point Raul talks about how he has no ideas, he just paints until a subject appears, and James is all BUT THAT IS TRUE PAINTING, ASSOCIATIONAL THINKING! Is tha
switterbug (Betsey)
Feb 06, 2016 rated it liked it
It’s the start of the Reagan era in NYC, when artists bump up against the crass consumerism of art buyers, and bohemians are still embracing the run-down factory-like buildings where they party like rock stars and live for their art. Gentrification is not yet on the horizon. New York City, with its dirty streets, glitzy lights, buzzing art scene, porn shops, and high crime, held purpose and promise to the young and imaginative. It was gritty, grand and glamorous, a city of big hair and even bigg ...more
Apr 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
How many books have I read that are set in New York? I’ve lost count, but I know there are many of them. And how many books have I read that trace the different lives of a group of people as their stories cross and intermingle? As I was reading this one, I was put in mind of Why We Came to the City, City on Fire, The Interestings. Even A Visit from the Goon Squad and The Goldfinch got a look in. And I know there are many others.

It’s a brave person who tells us a story of a group of friends or in
Apr 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I'm not a good book reviewer. I always want to review a book, but then I get that weird feeling of who am I to question a published book and/or tell someone else whether or not they should read it. Especially people I don't know that well and/or know their reading tastes. But I thought I'd share about this one. I hovered between 4 & 5 stars. It was serendipitous that I stumbled across this book because I keep bumping into a lot of things surrounding art and synesthesia lately. So that may be ...more
Robert Blumenthal
Aug 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I was completely blown away by this book (I don't think I've ever started a review like that before). But I was. I was blown away because it was about art (which I love), it put the reader smack dab into Manhattan in the year 1980, and it was extremely well written. It's essentially about three different characters whose lives intersect basically through their creation, appreciation and criticism of art.

One is an artist from Argentina who left his beloved sister behind, one is a beautiful young
Jan 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, 5-stars
Prentiss is ambitious with her first novel, crafting a complex, deeply interwoven narrative. The book spans countries and storylines, all the while offering a glimpse into the art scene in New York in 1980.

The story is built around a cast of fantastic supporting characters and 3 central characters: James, a synaesthetic and slightly eccentric art critic, Lucy, a small town girl who recently moved to New York, and Raul, a talented painter. These three characters will ultimately clash, a confluenc
Dec 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2016
This was a neat and consistently surprising book, which is a thing I love. Each time I was like, oh, okay, I understand the story that I'm reading, she did a switch or the plot made a zag or a character made an unexpected decision and we were zooming off in another direction.

But also, I think she tried to do too much. Like here: This is a story of a synesthete, a dude who can see smells and hear colors and whatnot. He's an art critic and this is the story of his art criticry and also his lopsid
Oct 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Some of my favorite books are about artists and the fine arts. The all-consuming passion some people feel for their chosen profession, and the sacrifices they make in its name, is fascinating to me.

Raul is so passionate about his painting that he leaves Argentina and his beloved sister, a political activist who is facing the risk of "disappearing", for the exploding art scene of New York, where Keith Haring is drawing penises on subway trains. Lucy, midwestern bumpkin with no goals other than t
Apr 13, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
I loved the novel at the start, but my focus on a particular aspect of the book started to shift my opinion about halfway through. One of the main characters has synesthesia, which allows a person to experience multiple senses in connection with one another (sounds as colors, hearing words as tastes, etc). I’m by no means an expert on synesthesia, but I am familiar and was frustrated by the seemingly unrealistic way it was used to move the novel’s plot. My reaction is somewhat irrational, since ...more
David Lutes
Oct 06, 2015 rated it liked it
Either the author or I misunderstand the possible manifestations of synesthesia (hint: I'm pretty sure it's her). What starts as the nuanced ability to see art as colors and thereby interpret feeling and composition on a more subconscious level leads to seeing colors on people. The evolution of the character's synesthesia goes to more of a mystical aura-reading place that I think is outside the realm of an actual synesthetic. I think I could roll with this if it were framed as more of a magical ...more
Jul 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
I didn't expect this to be a five star read for me. I loved the prologue, but didn't get into the meat of the book at first. There are just a handful of main characters here, all somehow involved in the New York art scene in 1980. The two main guys - an art critic who basically becomes famous because his synesthesia makes his reviews extraordinary and an Argentinian artist just about to make it big - were both interesting enough, but the whole thing came together for me when Idaho transplant Luc ...more
Sian Lile-Pastore
Jun 17, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I am ALWAYS up for a novel set in 80s New York amongst the art world. Always. And this was fine - easy to read, lots about art, plotty. I was interested enough to read it in two days, but wasn't crazy on the writing style. It's told through split narratives which I'm always wary of and also had some sections that I really didn't like (the portraits of a man sections if you've read it). Overall felt there was too much going on and it was all a little cliched. The art saved it for me though.
Eleni (OverThePlace)
Sep 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
It was weird but amazing and then even more weird and sad so sad...

It's about art and what impact it has on people and it's about New York too and the special breed of people that reside in it. It's about artists and the phenomenon of synesthesia and relationships and colors.

It's a cool book is what I'm trying to say.
May 26, 2018 rated it liked it
This book is about the characters and does a phenomenal job at getting to know them.
Dan Radovich
Dec 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
As a bookseller fortunate enough to receive advance reader copies of soon to be published books, I enjoy reading the cover letter that appears in many. These are generally letters from the publicists or book editors expressing why this is a special book, etc... I agree 100% with the final sentence of the letter that appears in the ARC of Ms Prentiss' debut. This book IS her moment! The sights, sounds and atmosphere of lower Manhattan during the opening days of 1980 are brought to vivid life in s ...more
Dec 31, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
More like a 3.5, but not quite a 4 star read. Although it moved quickly ( I finished it in 2 days)), I can't say it was particularly involving. Part of the problem for me is that is simply isn't enough to name check Basquiat and Haring to render 1980 in a realistic fashion; it's not so much false as just superficial. Prentiss was obviously not even born in 1980, so her musings about the art world and NYC all seem second hand. And I am not quite sure how the Argentinian subplot fits in. My other ...more
Nov 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels
Into a New York phase, because visiting my daughter there..
3.5 upgraded to 4 because I did love the first 150 pages or so, about an art critic with synaesthesia and the burgeoning art scene in Soho, NY in the late 70s, it had an energy, pace and insight that was compelling. I found a slackening off in the second half, or maybe the style was losing its effect on me. I still enjoyed it though, not least because I was staying in Soho, and walked many of the streets mentioned. I came back from Washi
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Around the Year i...: Tuesday Nights in 1980, by Molly Prentiss 1 28 Jan 11, 2016 06:16PM  

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Molly Prentiss has been a Writer in Residence at The Blue Mountain Center, Vermont Studio Center and at the Workspace program the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and received the Emerging Writer Fellowship from the Aspen Institute. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the California College of the Arts. Tuesday Nights in 1980 is her first novel. She currently lives, writes and walks around ...more
“He loved the flaws; they were invariably the most interesting parts of people's faces and bodies, the parts that held the straightest lines, the most beautiful shadows. Wounds and deformities and cracks and boils and stomachs: this was the stuff that moved Engales. Usually while he detailed the broken nose or sketched a lumpy body he felt as if he was zeroing in on what it meant to be alive. He could hear his father saying: The scratches are what makes a life.” 7 likes
“He had dragged something sharp through her heart when he went; Raul’s presence was like electricity, lighting up her world when it flicked on for her, darkening everything when it was shut off. It was dark when he left,” 3 likes
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