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The Glimpse


Loved it! 😍

A provocative observation of mother and daughter artists and their rocky relationship as a result of their crafts and the male gaze.

As a painter and someone who appreciates the fine arts, I was instantly drawn to this novel. Glimpse takes place in the eras of both the 50s and 60s. Liza Baker, the protagonist, is the kind of character that's hard to love with her rough edges, but she is a driven painter trying to navigate the New York art scene. Her daughter, Rouge, on the other hand, is more precocious and cautious in her actions and words. The two are quite opposite in their personalities but similar in their appreciation for creating something, be it Rouge's photography or Liza's paintings.

The novel opens with Liza's time in New York as a blossoming painting student of one of the most sought-after instructors in New York. It is here where Hank is introduced. The relationship between them is unclear at first, but it becomes clear as the story progresses that the two are casual lovers or friends with benefits. Liza tries to avoid emotional attachment with the men she sees and uses them for sex, including Hank, and this extends into her life as a mature woman and mother.

Then there's Liza's friend Tess. She is Liza's biggest supporter and looks after her in an almost maternal way. I really liked Tess because she does a lot to balance out the novel's darker themes of casual sex, alcoholism, unresolved childhood trauma, careless mistakes, and loneliness. Tess is a bubbly, optimistic, put-together woman in contrast to Liza, who seems to declines when she becomes pregnant with Rouge. Despite these contrasts in personalities, I think it makes the characters feel more real and relatable because their issues and how they affect their relationships don't feel too far-fetched.

As for Rouge, I can see how Liza's own past of feeling abandoned and ignored by her dad is reflected in her own parenting (or lack thereof) of Rouge. Rouge often yearns for her mother's attention and affection, but Liza is too preoccupied with her own vices or her one true love of painting, yet not really going anywhere. Overall, it's a great page-turner. I think those who enjoy drama, art, and getting near-emotional within a few chapters would like Glimpse.

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About the author

Lis Bensley has written for The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, ArtNews, and Elle Décor. She is author of The Women’s Health Cookbook and The Adventures of Milo and Flea. The Glimpse is her first novel. She lives with her sculptor husband in northern California. view profile

Published on September 01, 2021

Published by

90000 words

Genre: Literary Fiction

Reviewed by