Sunday, April 6, 2014

Visible City; Tova Mirvis

Visible City; Tova Mirvis
Houghton, Mifflin Harcourt - 2014

Visible City was a joy to read. It reminded me of a few of quotes that have always resonated with me...... 
  • “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
  •  If you look for perfection you'll never be content." 
  • "Rummaging in our souls, we often dig up something that ought to have lain there unnoticed."
 Leo Tolstoy - Anna Karenina
The setting for Visible City is the upper West side of Manhattan, and for Nina a stay at home mother to two children under the age of three, her life isn’t what she imagined it might be.  Once an attorney like her husband Jeremy, now while her husband works late nights, Nina has taken to entertaining herself by gazing at her neighbors in the building across the way with her son's toy binoculars.  One night she sees a what appears to be a content couple sitting on the sofa reading, the next night it's the same routine. She imagines they are a happy couple who have settled nicely into middle age.
One day the couple seems to have disappeared and a 30-something woman takes their place in that same window. It appears she is in a heated argument with a man and then soon after is having sex with him. What happened to the other couple and who are these younger people? Days later the younger woman appears with a leg cast and Nina's curiosity grows.
As the story unfolds the lives of these individuals entwine.  Leon, a therapist, his wife Claudia an art professor, Emma, their daughter, and other young moms in Nina's circle, who seem to have it all together on the outside, but are really conflicted in their own ways. Nina's husband Jeremy is also in turmoil.
The author does a wonderful job meshing the lives of these individuals and exposing both their little joys and in some cases bigger warts.  It was a joy to read about the lives of these flawed characters. 
In many ways this book reminded me a novel I read and loved in 2004, also set in Manhattan, called Between Two Rivers, by Nicholas Rinalidi. Read them both.
5/5 stars 
(arc /egalley)


  1. That sounds like some interesting characters!

  2. I picked this book up at the library last week! Based on your review, it's risen to the top of the TBR pile.

    Have a great week!

  3. Also reminiscent of the movie "Rear Window."

  4. You've convinced me that I need to get this book!

  5. I thought about "Rear Window" too. This sounds excellent.

  6. This sounds really good! Thanks for the Tolstoy quotes too.... I just ordered the Norton Critical edition of Anna Karenina because I feel an urge to reread it.

  7. I am looking forward to this one - I read The Ladies Auxiliary by this author years ago and loved it! Great review!

  8. I just read a review of this novel in BookPage and thought it sounded good - now your review pushed me over the edge - definitely want to read this!


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  9. I'm kicking myself for not accepting a review copy of this one...sounds wonderful!

  10. I've been curious about this one. It sounds lovely!

  11. First I've seen of this one and I love the Rear Window appeal. I don't know if you watch the show Castle, but they did an episode Rear Window inspired a few seasons ago and it was so much fun.


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