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Golden Hour Books

Asunder: A Novel by Chloe Aridjis

Asunder: A Novel by Chloe Aridjis

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From a writer praised for her "fresh, original voice" (New York Times Book Review) and "hypnotic" prose (Junot Díaz) comes a captivating novel about two museum guards in London for whom life and art begin to overtake one another in unsettling and surreal ways.

Half by chance, half by ancestral call, Marie works as a museum guard at the National Gallery in London. Amid its hushed and sedate corridors surge great currents of history and violence, paintings whose power belies their own fragility. There also lies the legacy of her great-grandfather Ted, the museum guard who slipped and fell moments before reaching the suffragette Mary Richardson as she took a blade to one of the gallery’s masterpieces, Velázquez’s Rokeby Venus, on the eve of World War I.

Drawn to such transgressors and the omens they bring with them, and after nine years at the Gallery, Marie begins to feel restless. At home she guards another, more humble collection—her handcrafted miniature landscapes—where she also remains a remarkably oppressive custodian of her own desires. A decisive change comes in the form of a winter trip to Paris. With the arrival of an uninvited guest and an unexpected encounter, Marie’s carefully contained world is torn open.

A rich, resonant novel of beguiling depths and beautiful strangeness, Asunder follows one woman’s journey to reconcile her roles as participant and spectator, and explores the delicate balance we must all find between creation and destruction, control and surrender.

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