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The Exhibition of Persephone Q

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  31 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Percy is pregnant. She hasn't told a soul. Probably she should tell her husband--certainly she means to--but one night she wakes up to find she no longer recognizes him. Now, instead of sleeping, Percy is spending her nights taking walks through her neighborhood, all the while fretting over her marriage, her impending motherhood, and the sinister ways the city is changing. ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Expected publication: March 3rd 2020 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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Adam Dalva
Sep 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Interesting, idiosyncratic, often captivating book, out this March. I was especially drawn to Jezewska Stevens's language - she is a special talent on the prose level - and the plot's central question is great: is the lead the subject of the nude photographs in her ex-fiance's art exhibition? I love debut novels for their ambition, and was thrilled to see a surprise 3-part structure emerge late.

I do have slight quibbles with the thematic over-usage of pomegranates and a slightly greater issues
Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: usa, 2019-read
So let me get this straight: Our protagonist, sleepless, malleable Percy, quit her job at an auction house, now works as a proof reader for a self-help author on intimacy and sex (oh, the symbolism!), and suddenly finds a picture of her naked sleeping self (shown without her head) at the center of an art exhibition by her ex-fiancé, to whom she still refers as her fiancé. She also stops talking to her Bulgarian new economy husband because she suddenly feels the urge to pinch his nose while he's ...more
Paris (parisperusing)
Jul 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, debuts, 2020
"It was unsettling to think that so many of the people who mattered in my life didn't believe me when I told them who I was. That is me, I said. It's me in the photographs. No one seemed to value my conviction. … I was reminded that the people closest to you suffer from a bias. They get used to your habits, used to your face. They hardly see you at all."

Manhattan, 2001: the towers have fallen, terror strikes the air. Though when thirtysomething Percy Q stirs from her sleep one night to find
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“I imagined the mist, the chill, the vast navy of the ocean, twin wands hovering over the shore. The world was trash. There was never enough. Lower Manhattan built upon it, we shipped whole landfills out to sea, on barges bellowing mighty horns. And yet how much remained for us to sift, to sort. The ghost of shampoo bottles alighted on the shore. One could drown in all this trash”
Jessi Jezewska Stevens has created a portrait of a lost woman so unremarkable and pedantic it came out resounding
Jan 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was an interesting premise, and the narrator's mood is relatable for anyone who has even been avoidant in the face of a major life change (or changes). There were times I found myself skimming a bit, especially over that particularly long internet comment about waxing. The setting in New York immediately after 9/11 also didn't quite fit or ring true to my memories of that time, and I rather wondered why it was necessary to set it then, or any particular time at all.

I read this entirely on a
Stacy Kingsley
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was ok
I won this book in a goodreads giveaway, and I was excited to read it, until I read it. The Exhibition of Persephone Q by Jessi Jezewska Stephens sounded promising. A young woman, Percy (not my real name), finds herself pregnant, married, and unable to sleep because she keeps holding her husbands nose closed when he sleeps. Her husband, Misha, has no reaction, and this scares her even more than the fact that she keeps doing it. She does worry that if it keeps going she will end up suffocation ...more
Jan 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kyra Johnson
Feb 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: review-copies
Set in the wake of 9/11 in NYC, Percy finds that she suddenly feels disconnected from her husband. To fend off the urge to suffocate him in his sleep, she finds solace in midnight walks around NYC. Percy floats along, pondering over the “nebula” growing inside of her that she’s kept hidden and her changing body, the responsibilities of motherhood, her relationships with those around her, including her husband, her psychic, a neighbor who mysteriously vanished, and her self-help author employer. ...more
Jan 28, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: giveaways
Personal rating: 2.5

This book was something that you would read at 3 a.m. at the laundromat. Or in your AP/College freshman English class.

The prose is interesting; it manages to create atmosphere without telling exactly what the main character is seeing/doing/walking through. There are parts of it that I really enjoyed; Part 2 of the story was lovely (even though the subject matter was a little bleak).

This was a story that didn't give a lot of answers, but just kept giving me questions. The
Dec 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: general-fiction
This book is literally just about a woman that is so lost and really I think that a lot of people have that moment in their life where things change and they don’t know who they are anymore or what they’re doing or why they’re doing it.

The symbolism that the synopsis promised was lost on me tbh. I just found Percy to be very relatable.
James Beggarly
Dec 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Wonderful book that captures the paranoia and floating unease in the days right after 9/11. A married woman finds out she’s pregnant and can’t quite figure out how to tell her husband. Her old boyfriend has taken an old picture of her in bed and put it into his gallery show and no one believes the woman when she says that’s her. A fun read, as unsettling as it is thoughtful.
Faith 09
Dec 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Very interesting.
MCZ Reads
Nov 16, 2019 marked it as to-read
Shelves: giveaway-winners
I won a copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway. I will leave a review once I receive my copy. I’m looking forward to reading this book!
Agata Rozpedek
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was ok
The book wasn’t really my cup of tea. Protagonist mainly just walks at night and makes her life more difficult than it needs to be.
Liam Kelsey
Feb 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is an ambitious and well-written debut, which is well worth your time even if certain threads aren’t resolved by the end of the novel. Lighten up, folks! this is a writer to watch
Feb 02, 2020 rated it liked it
I won this book from the publisher through Goodreads for review. I'm still not sure how to feel about this one, it's a weird book. It's about a pregnant woman...who's losing her mind? Who's depressed? I'm pretty sure it's a fever dream but I'm not mad at it ...more
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