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Feast Your Eyes by Myla Goldberg, Scribner, US $28.00, Pp 328, April 2019, ISBN 978-1501197840

Set in the 1950s through 1970s, Feast Your Eyes is the story of an ambitious female photographer who is grappling with her passion for photography and motherhood. Like other ambitious women, Lillian Preston finds it as uncertain as walking a tightrope. Lillian Preston is described as “America’s Worst Mother, America’s Bravest Mother, America’s Worst Photographer, or America’s Greatest Photographer, depending on who was talking.” Lillian discovered her love for photography at the photography club of her high school. She was so much in love with the photography that she decided not to go to college or get married. She moved to New York because she thought her future belonged there. In New York, she devoted most of her time to her passion for photography. But when she gave birth to Samantha — the result of a love affair that could not endure — she discovered another kind of love — the mother’s love. She was living a satisfying life until an avant-garde gallery owner offered her to exhibit some of her nudes including those of 6-year-old Samantha in her underwear. As a result of this exhibition, she is arrested on obscenity charges. Her arrest brings her under the limelight which changes the course of her life. She now looks for artistic legitimacy and recognition. Feast Your Eyes is structured as the catalog notes from a photography show at the Museum of Modern Art years after Lillian’s death. Feast Your Eyes is narrated by Samantha as a collection of her memories, interviews with her mother’s friends and lovers and excerpts from her journal. Put together, it is a portrait of a female artist who is struggling to find a place not only for herself but also for other female artists. Feast Your Eyes is a mesmerizing and entertaining feminist novel.

Myla Goldberg is the bestselling author of several novels including The False FriendWickett’s Remedy, and Bee Season, which was a New York Times Notable Book. She won the Borders New Voices Prize, and a finalist for the Hemingway Foundation/PEN award, the NYPL Young Lions award, and the Barnes & Noble Discover award. She has also written an essay collection, a children’s book, and short stories that have appeared in Harper’s. She teaches in the fiction programs at Sarah Lawrence and NYU. She was also the subject of a song by The Decemberists, “Song for Myla Goldberg.” She lives in Brooklyn with her husband Jason Little and their two daughters.

*****

Most of the biographical notes in our reviews are provided by the publishers.

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