White on White

White on White

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A "marvelous" (Lauren Groff) and riveting novel about a woman who has come undone.

A student moves to the city to research Gothic nudes. She rents an apartment from a painter, Agnes, who lives in another town with her husband. One day, Agnes arrives in the city and settles into the upstairs studio.

In their meetings on the stairs, in the studio, at the corner café, the kitchen at dawn, Agnes tells stories of her youth, her family, her marriage, and ideas for her art - which is always just about to be created. As the months pass, it becomes clear that Agnes might not have a place to return to. The student is increasingly aware of Agnes's disintegration. Her stories are frenetic; her art scattered and unfinished, white paint on a white canvas.

What emerges is the menacing sense that every life is always at the edge of disaster, no matter its seeming stability. Alongside the research into human figures, the student is learning, from a cool distance, about the narrow divide between happiness and resentment, creativity and madness, contentment and chaos.

White on White is a sharp exploration of empathy and cruelty, and the stunning discovery of what it means to be truly vulnerable, and laid bare.

Title:White on White
ISBN:null
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    White on White Reviews

  • Adam Dalva

    Okay, so I'm a sucker for slim books about painting where characters have intense philosophical discussions and not much happens on the surface for the first two thirds...I fully concede that this is ...

  • Jaylen

    White on White is a deceptively sinister novel on the liminal spaces of various dualities and how they are reflected in art and personal intimacy. Nearly every sentence of this novel mines the depths ...

  • Cherise Wolas

    It could be just what I'm reading, but it is both fascinating and odd how often novels these days feature unnamed narrators, narrators as reflections, receptacles, sponges, the backboards against whic...

  • David

    The narrator and Agnes are interlocked, each the other’s subject, meticulously observed and committed to memory through art (in the narrator’s case this memoir, in that of Agnes a strange gothic r...

  • Catherine

    An unnamed narrator moves to a city for academic research on Gothic nudes, renting an apartment from a captivating character, Agnes, who is a painter and still uses the upstairs studio. The student be...

  • Victoria Tang

    When I saw this book at the bookstore, it felt made for me. Everything I love in a novel: art history, academics, artists, complicated women, and lack of plot. And it was just that! A nice read remini...

  • Elizabeth Krusch

    Airy, aesthetically overwrought. A woman moves to an apartment near the university where she is researching for her PhD. The landlady comes to stay with her, befriends her, overshares her life story. ...

  • Edie

    i enjoy savas’s writing and her focus on character driven story telling over heavy plot, but found this one a bit less engaging than her first novel which I really loved ...

  • Al

    A PhD student moves to a city to research Gothic nudes and while so rents an apartment from painter, Agnes, who lives in a nearby town with her husband. Agnes begins to spend more time at the apartmen...

  • Suzanne

    In the "white middle-aged woman comes slowly unhinged" genre, this one is better than most. (Yes,Rachel Cusk, I'm glaring at you and your messy paint splat of a book Second Place and Dana Spiotta with...