Chrissie's Reviews > Tuesday Nights in 1980

Tuesday Nights in 1980 by Molly Prentiss
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it was ok
bookshelves: arts, usa, audible, 2016-read, love, relationships, life-stages

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 writes in a staccato fashion. Choppy. Often using short incomplete sentences. Exclamations, repetitions, bursts of thoughts. Bubbles. Sometimes this works, but not always. It works best in drawing James Bennett’s synesthesic visions. Vibrant colors work well, but also ideas and thoughts are thrown out at the reader. Very often I found myself opposing that stated. A painter says, “That is how you paint a face.” So I think, “Are you telling me there is only one right way to do it?” Grrr. And this leads to the second problem.

The first half of the novel is set to describe a couple of young people struggling to find their niche, their place in the art world of SoHo. They act self-assured, and of course that is because they are not. The tone is flippant, provocative, crass. Life is a joke, never to be taken seriously. Every other word is a swear word. They know everything. Drugs and sex and the search for money are the backbone of their everyday world. They say such things as, “the clouds look like tits.” I think, “Oh my, that is interesting.” I am being sarcastic of course! We are told “in the rich person’s blue room….” There just was not much for me to think about, not in terms of art or synesthesia.

Then comes an accident. Everything changes, but of course it has to. The changes that occur are predictable. You are rarely told outright but rather through small, implied hints. This I liked. You do have to pay attention to the hints and you are free to interpret the facts as you will……..but I found them rather obvious.

The ending? I say it is too (view spoiler). I say give me something to chew on, something imaginative, something that one wouldn’t immediately think of.

The bottom line is - this novel gave me very little. Little is done in describing Argentina’s Dirty War years. You only get a few impressions describing one person’s synesthesia. More could have been done with the burgeoning SoHo art world. I feel no attachment to any of the characters. First they were this way and then suddenly they grew up; how they moved from one stage to the other is not well shown. Too abrupt, not properly nuanced.

The audiobook narration by George Newbern captures well the author’s lines.


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Reading Progress

December 8, 2015 – Shelved
December 8, 2015 – Shelved as: follow-up
December 8, 2015 – Shelved as: arts
December 8, 2015 – Shelved as: usa
January 11, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
January 19, 2016 – Shelved as: wishlist-f
January 19, 2016 – Shelved as: audible
April 8, 2016 – Shelved as: own-unlistened
April 8, 2016 – Shelved as: 2016-read
Started Reading
April 18, 2016 – Finished Reading
April 19, 2016 – Shelved as: love
April 19, 2016 – Shelved as: relationships
April 20, 2016 – Shelved as: life-stages

Comments Showing 1-4 of 4 (4 new)

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message 1: by Sara (new)

Sara Darn. I was looking forward to this too.


Chrissie I was sure it was going to be fabulous. I think I was thinking like another A Little Life...... IF I had gone in with less high expectations maybe I wouldn't have been so disappointed.


message 3: by Deborah (new) - added it

Deborah Pickstone I take it synesthesia is the new popular ingredient? I just wish the writers using it actually had it as the 3 books I read recently containing the concept clearly had clueless authors. I'll try this but my expectations are low. Perhaps, thus, I'll love it :P


Chrissie I agree; what is this with everyone trying to write about synesthesia, but none succeeding.?!

Of course, I hope you like it. Going in with lower expectations may help but ....... I don't think so.


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