Praise for The Suicide of Claire Bishop

"Banasky’s memorable, intricate, and inventive debut novel uses vulnerable characters to probe themes of time, identity, perception, and love. In 1959 Manhattan, Freddie Bishop commissions an artist known only as Nicolette to paint a portrait of his wife, Claire. Unexpectedly, the finished work depicts fragmentary moments in Claire’s life, ending with a leap off the Brooklyn Bridge. Despite Nicolette’s reassurance that the painting will protect her from the fate it depicts, Claire—fearful of her family’s history of mental instability—attempts unsuccessfully to destroy it. When schizophrenic West Butler sees the painting in a gallery in 2004, he becomes convinced that it is the work of his artist ex-girlfriend, also named Nicolette. Spiraling into a delusion of conspiracy and time travel that explains her disappearance from his life and the contradiction in dates, West concludes that the canvas can change reality as well as help him find Nicolette. In the course of stealing it, he meets a man with knowledge of the painting’s past, setting up an encounter between him and Claire that will have transformative effects on both. With its dancing time frames, recurring motifs, glimpses of history, and shifting realities, all united by striking prose, the novel is both an intellectual tour de force and a moving reflection on the ways we try to save ourselves and others. (Sept.)" 

—Publishers Weekly, starred review

 

"Relying on an unreliable narrator is always risky, and Banasky elevates that risk to high art...Banasky writes beautifully and with great empathy."

—Kirkus Reviews

"...simultaneously precise, beautiful, and frightening."

—Booklist

 

"...a twisty, satisfying story about truth and madness."

—Foreword

 

“Debut novelist Banasky offers a brilliantly, sleekly told puzzle piece that snares readers to the end.”

—Library Journal, starred review

 

"This thriller of a debut novel by Carmiel Banasky throws any tired stereotype about women’s fiction right out the window. An exquisite mix of Let the Great World Spin, The Goldfinch, and the indie flick Safety Not Guaranteed...Intellectually provocative and elegantly rhapsodic, The Suicide of Claire Bishop celebrates the arrival of an uncommonly ambitious and inventive writer."

—Ploughshares

 

"Fans of Marisha Pessl, Donna Tartt, and Nicole Krauss, take note. With her debut, The Suicide of Claire Bishop, Carmiel Banasky's name will be mentioned confidently alongside these well-loved writers...Banasky flits deftly between the two story lines, painting for us a swath of cultural history between their eventual collision. The Suicide of Claire Bishop is thrilling and beautiful; it's a remarkable debut."

—Bustle

 

"Have you ever had that moment when you have to take a step back and marvel at unsuspecting brilliance? Well, this book was my moment....The core of this novel is the core of us all—a burning need to connect with another person, even if it’s forbidden, even if she forgets you, even if she disappears."

—JMWW

 

"...The Suicide of Claire Bishop takes a look at class, gender roles, and religious groups, all the while weaving the very personal philosophies of the protagonists...This is a book of semiotics of works of art, both visual and literary. Banasky’s novel is its own symbol, packed with powerful prose..."

—Green Mountain Review, Chelsea Werner-Jatzke

 

OTHER PRAISE:

 

“Daring, precise, and linguistically acrobatic, this novel brings a history of America alive, from the war protests in the sixties to turn-of-the21st-century art theft. A fearless portrayal of madness and its consequences, Carmiel Banaksy's debut novel tracks the life of a suicidal housewife and her unlikely, schizophrenic counterpart. This is a new writer to savor, reminiscent of Nicole Krauss, Michael Chabon and Andy Sean Greer.”

—Colum McCann, National Book Award-winning author of Let the Great World Spin

 

"A magnificent, astute debut that portends greatness, The Suicide of Claire Bishop whisks us through one of the most epic eras of American history. While her heroic scope rivals that of of The Goldfinch and her boldly lush storytelling nods to Let the Great World Spin, Carmiel Banasky’s pages unfurl with an intense artistry all their own. A fantastically captivating and beautifully rendered book!"

—Claire Vaye Watkins, author of Battleborn and Gold Fame Citrus 

 

"Vivid, strange and always compelling, The Suicide of Claire Bishop weaves together art, politics and the specter of madness in an unforgettable New York story. Carmiel Banasky, a writer like no other, is a talent to watch."

—Claire Messud, author of The Emperor's Children and The Woman Upstairs

 

“THE SUICIDE OF CLAIRE BISHOP—a story of obsession and art, haunted and complex—is amazing, and Banasky’s descriptive skills are extraordinary.  Not to be missed.”

— Andrew Sean Greer, author of The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells

 

INTERVIEWS:

 

Prairie Schooner

LA Review of Books

Brooklyn Rail

Electric Literature

Vol. 1 Brooklyn

Steph Post

Writer's Bone