Impossible Views of the World by Lucy Ives

Impossible Views of the World

Lucy Ives

Impossible Views of the World is a dazzling debut novel about how to make it through your early thirties with your mind and heart intact.

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A witty, urbane, and sometimes shocking debut novel, set in a hallowed New York museum, in which a co-worker's disappearance and a mysterious map change a life forever

Stella Krakus, a curator at Manhattan's renowned Central Museum of Art, is having the roughest week in approximately ever. Her soon-to-be ex-husband (the perfectly awful Whit Ghiscolmbe) is stalking her, a workplace romance with "a fascinating, hyper-rational narcissist" is in freefall, and a beloved colleague, Paul, has gone missing. Strange things are afoot: CeMArt's current exhibit is sponsored by a Belgian multinational that wants to take over the world's water supply, she unwittingly stars in a viral video that's making the rounds, and her mother--the imperious, impossibly glamorous Caro--wants to have lunch. It's almost more than she can overanalyze.
But the appearance of a mysterious map, depicting a 19th-century utopian settlement, sends Stella--a dogged expert in American graphics and fluidomanie (don't ask)--on an all-consuming research mission. As she teases out the links between a haunting poem, several unusual novels, a counterfeiting scheme, and one of the museum's colorful early benefactors, she discovers the unbearable secret that Paul's been keeping, and charts a course out of the chaos of her own life. Pulsing with neurotic humor and dagger-sharp prose, Impossible Views of the World is a dazzling debut novel about how to make it through your early thirties with your brain and heart intact.

Advance Galley Reviews

I wanted to like this book, I really did. I was so intrigued by the blurb that I used points to guarantee my copy. Unfortunately, the narration style just did not work for me and I kind of regret that I didn't DNF this book. I could have saved myself several hours of slogging through a book that I was not enjoying, but apparently I'm a masochist or I just take the phrase "finish what you start" too much to heart with everything. The main character reminded me a little bit of myself during my teen years, when I thought it was fun to use big words that I knew most of my friends wouldn't be familiar with (this was the same phase when I was doing things like reading War & Peace so I could brag about having read it. Seriously, it was the height of intellectual snobbery from a child who grew up in the Midwest). But at the same time, I often didn't understand the slang this woman was using, which is perplexing because we are basically the same age. This story is not timeless, it has several specific dates and a timeline that indicates that this woman and I would have attended high school at the same time. The only explanation for this discrepancy is that maybe New Yorker's use extra slang that my Midwestern upbringing didn't prepare me for, but I have a hard time accepting that myself. Another issue I had with the book is that Stella, the main character, seemed to overshare, a lot. There was a whole lot of information about her personal relationships that just didn't seem relevant to the story, at least not what I was expecting from the story based on the blurb. Ultimately, there were just a lot of elements that didn't click for me, so I give this book 1.8765748 stars.

Like other reviewers I couldn't get into the book. It's a shame because the premise sounds interesting, but I didn't connect with the character.

The writing seemed good at first, however, a few pages in I could not complete the novel. The story could have used more interesting characters and/or plot points.

I was seeing this book around before it was published. I was excited I got a early copy of this book to read. I thought this book was a mystery but it did had romance. For me it was hard to get into. It was okay I wish I enjoyed it more but I think it just wasn't something I was expecting. The writing overall was good.

I was so excited for this book. When I started reading it, I could not seem to connect with the character and made it difficult to read. I couldn't finish it, maybe when I have a little bit more time to dedicate to it, I can try and refocus on getting through it in its entirety.

Could not get into this book. Writing seemed disjointed and story flow inconsistent. Sorry but not a fan of this book.

Was extremely excited for this book, honestly the cover drew me in but the writing turned me away regardless of the countless attempts to continue this book. Took me longer then it should being that it was very small but left me thinking I should've just put the book down... sorry just not my cup of tea.

This book was not my cup of tea. I thought the writing was good. It was occasionally witty but I could not figure out if it was a mystery, a reflection of modern life or a romance. I had to quit on page 114.

The writing was clever and funny, and the insights into the history of American art interesting. The narrator tended to babble and ruminate on the same issues chapter to chapter. Unfortunately, her reflections didn't necessarily move the plot forward. Just when I got into the story, pages of self-absorbed reflection would follow. The pacing could be better.

A little hard to get into, so you really have to have dedication to get through this book!

I wish I could say that I enjoyed this book. I did slog through most of it, but ended up skimming the last 30%. I didn't enjoy the author's style, the characters and I had a hard time actually deciding what the plot was. I'm happy this one is over.

I couldn't get drawn in, so...I gave up.

"I have, as people tend to do, known my mother all my life." I received a copy of this book from in exchange for an honest review. This was not the book for me. I finished it since it was fairly short and I hoped it would pay off...but I was disappointed. Jumping around from found maps and keys to the main characters relationship with her mother to the loss of her coworker to old art the story was surprisingly repetitive and passive. The writing is an example of telling instead of showing and the tone came off as uninteresting instead of witty or engaging. Some chapters are rather vague and some are oddly specific. There's a lot of jumping around and haphazard shoving in facts in side story points that don't really pan out. I don't think the description accurately portrayed the book that I read and I didn't particularly enjoy it.

Impossible Views of the World by Lucy Ives was just an okay read for me. I found it rather disjointed and hard to follow. I did develop somewhat of an affinity for the main character but none of the other characters were well developed. I did not live up to it's billing as a comic novel for me. I could tell where it was trying to be funny or where it was supposed to be funny but it failed in most cases. I read the whole thing, it was not a complicated or over long read, but it won't make my list of recommended reads..

The marketing folks did a great job with their description of the story. Unfortunately, the book did not live up to the marketing blurb. The writing was somewhat disorganized and disjointed. The characters seemed rather two-dimensional, unsympathetic and not worth investing in.

I really wanted to like this book; however, the description just did not live up to the actual story. The writing was hard to follow at times, and the standoffish Stella was not only disinterested in the characters of the story, but as a reader, I didn't like her either. Since I could not connect with her, it made her research mission not that interesting -- and her discovery was not even that profound. Her romantic arch was just as blah. All the men in her life seemed callous and uncaring, but since I didn't really care about Stella, I didn't root for her to find love either. I had to make myself finish reading this book, and it was definitely a chore to get through each page.

Just couldn't get into this one.

The plot of this book seemed disjointed. I did finish reading it because I kept expecting things to come together. Although I found parts interesting, I didn't enjoy it as much as I had hoped I would.

I started this book not once but twice, and it took the second attempt to really get past the first couple of chapters. Normally, when I DNF a book, I leave it at that unless there’s something about the story that’s got my interest, or I want to know what happens at the end. Both of those things can apply as my reason for returning to Impossible Views of the World by Lucy Ives. So, with the last couple of hours I had with the eARC, I read this book in full. And, I was left feeling a little disappointed because Impossible Views of the World had a lot of potential. There were some really great moments in the story, and I actually liked the fact that the main character, Stella, worked at a museum, which is an occupation I rarely come across in fiction. In a lot of ways, Impossible Views of the World kind of felt like a character study with Stella being the primary narrator and subject. So, this book was driven by the happenings in the lives of the characters. There was a literary quality to the story, as well as a little bit of a mystery. But, I feel conflicted about it because there were parts that I enjoyed and others that I didn’t. I think my main complaint was that Impossible Views of the World was a very wordy book. I like long books. I don’t mind long stretches of exposition in the name of establishing the characters and the world of the novel. However, Stella’s internal dialogue had a habit of running on for long paragraphs or entire pages. She nit-picked almost every little detail. Some of it was difficult to get through because it was just one idea that was seemingly thought about for a while. This might have been to give a quirk to Stella’s perspective, but it just wasn’t for me. Impossible Views of the World was just okay. I don’t really know how to rate this one, so I’m just going to leave it alone for now. This copy of the book was provided by First to Read (Publisher) for this review.

This novel was one I simply could not get into. It seemed pointless from the start. Maybe the author thought the writing style was whimsical but I found it annoying and it took away from the reading experience.

Maybe I'm not worldly enough or I was looking for something a little more escapist, but I just didn't see the point of this story. I'm not sure what was accomplished or how it was resolved and I didn't particularly like Stella very much as a character. Overall, I'm not sure that I would entirely recommend this book and I'm not sure how I feel about it.

I loved the idea of this book, and I think the narrative voice was great, Stella had an interesting way of viewing the world rhat bounced between hesitantly optimistic and bleakly realistic that I thought was really different. Unfortunately I couldn't get into the rhythm of the authors style and found myself constantly flipping back pages to reread sections, trying to make sense of them. I'm usually a fan of highly descriptive prose, but this was even too much for me. If I had an eBook compatible copy, it would've been a little easier to get definitions without interrupting the flow of the story so much, but on a manuscript, it was too much work. I got about three quarters through and had to call it quits. If I can get myself to finish it, I'll update my review.

Somehow, the story never seems to come together. More often than not, I feel as though the author keeps getting lost in her own creativity. When the protagonist reaches her "ah ha" moment, I'm still scratching my head and waiting for an explanation.

I had high hopes for this book and thought I was going to love it. However, I just couldn't finish it. I somehow managed to get to about the halfway point but the writing style is just not for me. The writing skipped around a lot and it was extremely hard to follow and it got to the point where I just couldn't keep going.

The premise behind this book is wonderful and alluring. However, the writing itself gets so bogged down into sounding like a fairyland in a different language that I have already put it down twice and given up. However, I may still finish it if I have nothing else to read. I really wanted to like it and find out what happens to Stella who is coming into her own, but it's a very hard read.

Stella, a museum curator, is having a bad week. Her soon to be ex is an ass who insists on showing up at inopportune times, she’s in love with a narcissist who “is happiest loving many women”, and one of her co-workers has gone missing. Between all this and having to figure out her relationship with her mother, her work at the museum, and the new mystery of what Paul was working on; Stella has no time to really fix herself. Day by day, we go through a week of her life. Shout out to First to Read for allowing me an eARC in exchange for an honest review. Unfortunately this was not a great book for me. The premise was amazing (give whoever wrote that blurb a raise, seriously). But there was so much that just did not work for me. The writing style was slow, verbose for the sake of filling space ( I felt like nothing was ever really said), and mediocre at best. I cannot tell you how many times I nearly DNF’ed this book. The characters were forgettable, and the parts where she was supposed to be reading someone else’s work… sounded just like the narrator. Word choice was similar- it didn’t seem like something new or different. The big mystery of the book was fairly bland- or at least written in a way that made it unappealing. One star- I never do this, but it is deserved. On the adult content scale- there’s a bit of sexual content and language, but I can’t see anyone under the age of twenty lasting past page twelve, so it’s a moot point.

I consider myself to have an above average vocabulary. Unfortunately, it's not good enough to get me through this book. I quit after page 30 because I was spending more time in the dictionary than I was in the pages of the book. Bummer.

Based on the synopsis I thought I would really enjoy this book, but boy was I wrong. I got about a fourth through before I officially called it off, I usually like to get through at least half of a book before I abandon it but I just could not handle any more. I really couldn't get into the syntax of this one, it read like the author was trying really hard to make it sound studious or something. It's like what my essays for school turn into at 3 am when I need to meet a word requirement and don't care about sounding like a real human that speaks conversational english but rather a robot whos been taught roughly how humans should speak but still uses a thesaurus too much. I will however give some points because I did enjoy the descriptions of the museum that I did read.

This was a difficult novel for me to get into. I loved the premise that is described in the synopsis and I was excited to learn about the mystery and see how that unfolded but unfortunately the introductory chapters made it impossible for me to connect with this novel. I wanted to love it so much, but in the end decided my time was better spent reading something that dazzled me. I look forward to my next book from First to Read and appreciate the opportunity to read this novel.

Impossible Views of the World by Lucy Ives was not an enjoyable read for me. The characters were not interesting and it was overall just boring. Unfortunately the writing style was a little off putting as well. The synopsis makes this seem like an awesome adventure but I didn't get this sense at all. I usually don't leave negative reviews but this book is just not for me.

Lucy Ives's Impossible Views of the World is absolutely delightful. Stella Krakus, curator at CeMArt seems to approach her own life as she would the pieces on display in the museum in which she spends most of her time, with a near obsessive dedication to analysis rather than anything as simple as feeling. As we learn more about the museum, we, in turn, learn more about Stella and how her life intertwines with the history around her - both personal history, and the history gathered in CeMArt in a broader sense. Though it is primarily a novel of Stella's growth in the world and within herself, it has such a unique lens that forces you to pay attention - almost in such an obsessive way that you are mirroring Stella herself - or you might miss something important. After all, to Stella Krakus, it is all important. Fans of Jeffrey Eugenides, Jill McCorkle, or Margaret Edson might find yet another rare and sparkling gem in Ives's Impossible Views of the World. It is a story that makes you work for a great and inimitable reward - a journey that is remarkable, heartfelt, and incredibly accessible, even if Stella herself is not.

The idea of this book--a woman breaking free of the things and people that hold her back, and coming into her own--seems like a good idea. And yet, the writing! It's stilted and overblown, constantly drawing attention to itself and away from the plot. You're constantly aware of the act of reading. It reminds me of a bad translation, where each word has been stitched together into a Frankenstein's monster that seems like it ought to be a sentence, yet somehow, is repulsively not one. There's no sense talking more about my other impressions--I read the book, but the writing overpowered everything else. I wouldn't recommend it unless weird, over-complicated, self-indulgent writing strikes you as somehow clever.

If you like solving puzzles and figuring out what might happen next, then this is the book for you. This one keeps you wanting to turn the pages to figure out what happens. I found the book to be interesting.

With all due respect, I can't read this. Congratulations, I have officially DNF'd a book this year. Thanks, FTR for this arc in exchange of an honest review. Here we go... 1. This is clearly unedited. 2. The author clearly used a thesaurus. I made it to the r's in the thesaurus. I can't take it anymore. 3. WRONG word selections. Razed chin? Oh, Marco has a destroyed chin? Shouldn't it be chiseled? 4. Up the stairs? Why not say ascended the stairs? 5. Senescent should be senescence. And in this case, it should be pungent or fragrant on page 4. 6. Moribund display? So the dealer has a dying display? 7. "Very easy" should be easily on page 5. 8. "Palatial" front steps? Knock of the word "palatial" on page 4. 9. Errant... should mean this... "he could never forgive his daughter's errant's ways. Not stray hair on page 5. 10. Nonplussed? It doesn't mean what you think it means. I tried. I honestly tried. I have 0 patience, and I'm not a dictionary. Take all the words you used from the thesaurus, and I'll try again. It's too much! This book is clearly a victim of "overwriting." Where are the editors? Penguin... What are you doing?

I didn't finish this book. It wasn't due to the higher vocabulary (which is higher than the average fiction book), but because it was so verbose that it was exhausting to read. I just wanted it to get to the point. I gave it two stars because there were shining moments where the smoke of excess words cleared and a picture of Stella started to form. The same for the other characters as well and I liked what I read in those moments. They were interesting. But not interesting enough to keep me trudging through.

DNF. (42%) I really did try, but from the beginning I had the feeling that this book wasn't for me. I did not like the writing style. After completely a third of the book, I didn't give a flying fig about Stella, nor did I truly have a sense of the plot. I hope it would get better as I read more, but it just didn't.

Although this book had potential, it never came together into something enjoyable. A host of characters and storylines never quite tied together, and left me confused and underwhelmed. The author has a love for big words and complicated vocabulary, which caused me to reread several passages to try and get what she was trying to say. I thought for awhile that a good mystery might be forming, but that fell flat as well. My advice.....skip this one. There are better books to read out there!

The writing was hard not to focus on and get to the heart of the story. The blurb made it sound like a dazzling mystery,which after reading the first few chapters turned out not to be true. The over all plot concept was interesting and Stella was a decently thought out character. As always, let your eyes be the judge, mine are weird.

The writing in this book is flat. It inspires no emotion, and it leads the reader nowhere. The storyline also be going nowhere. The book conveys itself as a mystery, but after being told on page one who went missing, there was nothing else surrounding that part of the story through the next few chapters. I didn't make it far into this book, because I felt cheated. It was supposed to be a juicy mystery, and instead I was reading about this girl's mom for three pages, her exhusband, and nothing else. The writing wasn't enough to keep me interested. I actually couldn't stand it, because it felt pretentious and forced. Nothing seemed to flow, and I just gave up. There were points where I felt the narrator was trying to be funny, but it came off dry and condescending. I wish I could've submitted a better review, because I had high hopes.

I found this book a bit of a struggle as it was quite disjointed. It tells the story of Stella as she navigates through her work and personal life over the course of one week. There were sections that I really enjoyed - I liked all of the investigation into Elysia and when this first appeared in the novel, I thought that the plot was actually kicking in. Unfortunately for me, there were just sections of this investigation dropped through a narrative that also contained neurotic over-analysis of a relationship. I think my main problem was that these two strands just didn't seem to mesh well together. For me, this novel would have worked better if it had focused on one or the other. I also think that the book blurb lets this novel down - it makes it sound like a frothy and funny week in the life story and what it actually is, is a very intelligent in depth look at one woman that is not frothy and only occasionally funny. I received a free copy of this book from Penguin First to Read in exchange for a fair and honest review.

I did make my way through this book but only by skimming it for the dialogue and some of the description. I was excited for this book from the synopsis but once I started reading I was very let down. I didn't really care about this mystery and was confused about what was occurring with these seemingly connected bizarre things.

I ended up putting this book down about 200 pages in. I was really excited to read it. The cover and synopsis really drew me in; The writing, however, didn't cut it. It was very repetitive (frequently saying one thing, then saying "in other words" and rephrasing the exact same thing), and gave a lot of unnecessary detail. It really was a slog for me to get through. At one point, I went back and restarted the book, just to see if I missed something. I didn't. The only character we really got to know was Stella, and she had little to no personality. There were a handful of funny comments sprinkled through, but not enough to convince me to keep going.

I hung on until chapter 8, when I realized that I was just not invested in continuing the story. The writing just seemed disorganized and never really got me to a point that I wanted to find out what happens next.

This debut novel takes place in a New York art museum, with main character Stella Krakus, curator, at the helm of the crisp, detail oriented narrative. With a mystery unfolding surrounding a missing colleague, a taste of Utopia, historical maps, strange novels, and a soon to be ex-husband who just can't take a hint, Stella is in for more than her usual work week stress. While I enjoyed the story, I didn't find this book to be easy to read. I had to focus and be in a "I'm ready to take in information" mood. This wasn't a read before bed or read while my one-year old is playing book. I had to be fully invested in order to make it through pages without having to go back and reread. Again, enjoyed the book but it wasn't the book for me at the time I started it.

This book took until page 80 for me to straighten out in my brain the writing style of Ms. Ives. Finally, I realized that I found the book oddly delightful in ways. Maybe, because as a fellow deep thinker, all over the place, go into my brain and see things happening in story form, like Stella's view of her own maddening stagnation when it came to one of her relationships (I mean, she uses a Star Wars reference for Pete's sake!!), I just got the formation of her thoughts. Ms. Ives creates an impossible view of the inner workings of an inner NYC museum, that none of us might ever get a glimpse of seeing. I did find it a little bit forced at the end. Through 304 pages of story it's only until towards the end we get even a hint of a resolution coming to the mysteryof Elysia. I am a notetaker when it comes to reading as I review these books. There are a ton of art references in this book. If only for the fun of exploring a museum might you read Impossible Views of the World. If for pure reading, it might just be too Impossible to finish. Boy, did a re-learn a lot about Limner art! If nothing else. Sorry, I gives this book a 2.5 rating.

DNF - I couldn't get past the first few chapters, reading this book was turning into a challenge. I can just picture the author writing this book now - open on her browser. There was no need for the intricate wording - if anything it slowed me down and got in the way of what the story was actually about. I requested to read this book using my points and I was very disappointed when I began to read it. I reread the first 2 chapters three times to try and get a better flow/understanding. I felt as though she was too descriptive at times it didn't matter which led me on a path of no return. DNF!!

A witty main character that is learning how to love and live in this cute novel. Loved the character but the story did go very slow... I was hoping that it would've been a better book. I might end up giving it a try again because it wasn't bad just not what I was looking for at the moment.

This book just wasn't for me. It was hard to engage with the characters and to adjust to the language, and the book never grabbed me. The plot was hard to follow and I still don't feel certain what this book is even about. I will not be writing a full review of this book or marking it as read because I am unable to finish it.

I tried to like this book but just couldn't get into it. The narrator/main character would go off on tangents that didn't seem to be at all related to the main plot. I feel like by several chapters in you should have a better feel for what is really happening (I mean, I can guess based on the synopsis). I would not recommend this book, nor will I finish it.

I rarely DNF, but unfortunately this book was a bit of a labor of love to get into... and since I didn't love it, I couldn't labor through. At least for now. The premise sounded so intriguing at first, but even now when re-reading the blurb, I'm not quite sure what I was thinking. Probably because the MC works at an art museum and I was an Art History major (that found my way into another world completely), but yes... this was unfortunately not for me YET. Maybe one day I will find my way back to it.

Based on the description, I really thought I was going to love this. Unfortunately, after reading 50% (my general rule of thumb), I abandoned it. Here's why: (1) I couldn't keep any of the characters straight. None of them were very developed by halfway through, which is a red flag for me. (2) The writing style is... different. It's a little all over the place for me. (3) Nothing much happened plotwise in the first half, so I lost interest every time I sat down to read. I really wanted to like this, but just couldn't.

DNF I just could not get into this novel. The author's writing style was just not for me -- it seemed erratic, weirdly descriptive at times, and unnecessarily redundant and wordy. Case in point, very early in the book readers will come across the following: "I have, as people tend to do, known my mother all my life." I understand this might have been an attempt at sarcastic humor, but so many sentences up to this point follow the same pattern of interjections within a sentence that it comes across flat and just plain distracting. The text doesn't flow very well for me, nor does the story. Stopped about a third of the way through the novel.

Wow, the critics are giving this great reviews but I found this book confusing and tiresome. Great premise but dull, one-dimensional characters, and the plot is all over the place.

DNF 33% - I did my best but can't finish it. The writing style is really off putting. Maybe it's trying to reflect the high education and posh background of the main character but it just comes off pretentious and awkward to read. When someone wants to "hide" a piece of paper the author used "dissimulate" when I'm pretty sure "conceal" would have worked if you wanted a more elevated word. How about going to "lunch" being written as a "midday collocation". And the plot could have been a good one but the execution just seemed to meander around instead of getting to the point. Maybe this would have been better as a really densely filled short story.

As a member of First to Read I used points to guarantee a copy of this novel to review. The synopsis is intriguing but the intrigue was short lived once I opened the novel. I found the main character, Stella, to be far too self absorbed and it stretched my imagination to believe that Paul was a "beloved colleague" (as promised in the synopsis) when Stella is very clear that she'd known him only slightly. I struggled through the book in it's entirety simply to be certain I was giving it a fair shot and I was relieved to see others experienced that same disconnect I felt with the story. As others have indicated the writing is a bit stilted and the author does love vocabulary. Lucy Ives' research is evident in the descriptions of the museum inner workings and the art history. Perhaps this will click with some people but it is not a novel I'd choose again or recommend to others.

I purposely chose Impossible Views of the World to enter worlds with which I was unfamiliar. The world of a museum in New York city and also the world of a 30 something about to be divorced woman are both such worlds. Perhaps that is why I was often confused as I read this book. At times there are passages of humor.....the whole scene with her soon to be ex on the steps of the museum and the aftermath is laugh out loud funny from my female point of view. The inner workings of the museum are intriguing. The vocabulary used was in keeping with the intellectual tone of the museum, but did not make for easy reading. This was a book that sort of gave me what I was looking for, but did it in a way that was difficult and perhaps not worth the effort.

I was really excited to get this book. The cover is beautiful and I thought the synopsis sounded great. However, I started reading it and I instantly felt like I was starting a college course 3 weeks behind everyone else. The writing, while well done, is really formal and kind of confusing and I might enjoy a more challenging read in the Fall or Winter, but it's the middle of the Summer and I really just want some fun quick reads. I couldn't get into this book at all, but I really appreciate having the opportunity to read it.

Thank you First To Read for giving me the opportunity to read Impossible View of the World by Lucy Ives, however I couldn't make it past the first chapter. This book was just not in my writing style and couldn't get into it.

Perhaps because it is summer, and I just want a quick, fun read, and not something that requires too much effort on my end (or maybe it's because my preschooler has had a few rough nights in a row leaving me a taf too bleary-eyed), but I honestly did not like this book. While it is well written, it is extremely formal, and makes me feel like I should be sitting ramrod straight in order to read it, which made this book unenjoyable to me. I mean no offense, it just is not my cup of tea.

I was really excited for this book (that cover!!) but from the first page I was put off. I only gave it a few chapters and I knew this just wasn't going to be the book for me. As others mentioned, the first few chapters are confusing. For me, the main problem was the writing style. It felt forced and clunky. I couldn't imagine reading 200+ pages of it. Wish I could give a more positive review but I knew it would be a struggle to get through this one since even the first 20 pages were hard.

Just to start us off, I had to struggle to get a hold of this book. I didn't read the instructions properly and ended up being unable to read the novel for about two weeks. There was all this suspense as I tried to find ways to get another copy. I requested galleys, I emailed the publishers, I tried to get another copy through any means I could and in my mind, the book became elevated to this ethereal novel that I couldn't touch. I feel like if this book was a person, we would be the jaded lovers who liked each other, but just couldn't quite make it work. I wanted something gorgeous and effortless, something that matched the beautiful cover. Instead I was given something that was surprisingly gritty. It's hard to like the people in this novel and I think that's where I get derailed. Combine that with my initial misconceptions about the novel's tone and you've got a dissonant feeling right off the bat. The cover is gorgeous and the write-up feels whimsical. It's called a "dazzling debut" and it doesn't dazzle. It's too rough for that. I know that I sound like I'm unhappy with the book and I'm not. Not at all. Impossible Views of the World just had an uphill struggle from the very beginning. I should have been fascinated by the premise. It's not often that you follow the threads of a mystery through honest to goodness research and searching through multiple books for a place that may or may not exist. I wish that the novel had focused more on that and less on the interaction between the characters within it. There's a very 30s kind of feel to this novel which was interesting to me and I did (eventually) warm up to Stella because underneath it all, she's kind of messy. She's competent, intelligent, independent and all kinds of mess. But then when you put other characters beside her, it became obvious very quickly that they were caricatures of themselves. Maybe that was the point. This novel makes me feel like I missed the point somehow, but I feel like it should have been more lyrical than it was. Either way, I did enjoy it for what it's worth.

I overall really enjoyed this book, the only thing that dragged a little for me was the writing style. It took a while to get used to, and seemed to clutter up the plot, but once I was able to sort through all of the description and tangents, I found it all to be very compelling and enjoyable.

I was excited when I read the synopsis, but it was not meant to be. The first chapter was confusing and I was ready to give up reading the book. It set the tone for the story and the ending was abrupt. I have no problem with the big words. Matter of fact I have read stories where I had to consult Google for the definition and enjoyed them. I understand Stella would have that sort of vocabulary being artsy. I admit there was also some shocking moments. I liked that Stella gave Whit a swift kick in the balls.I recently ended a relationship so I am on board with the girl power thing. I think Lucy Ives knows how to write and maybe the book isn't for me. I know nothing of the art world. But I know story structure and it seems jumbled. I am not trying to crush her dreams but I didn't think Stella had enough mystery or flaws to make her relatable.

I tried my best but just could not get into this book. The synopsis sounded really interesting too! The narrator was unsympathetic and the story just took too long to get going. It's rare for me not to finish a book.

I tried to finish this book I really did in all honesty. I forced myself to chapter eight [8] before throwing in the towel. I had hoped if I'd kept on reading that it would get better, it did not not at ALL. I don't like to down people's skills or dreams but more thought should have been to this book, it should have been crafted more. I don't like the first and only person narration either it is quite boring. I would not recommend this book to anyone unless you're on an extremely long flight and have to a choice of this and some D-rated movie. This is a definite back to the drawing board kind of read. Better Luck next time. This doesn't put me off the author I would still read another book and may eventually finish this one just to find out what happened to the chap that disappeared.

My first impression of the book was that it was going to be very good because the cover was gorgeous (yes, I was lead in by the cover) and the synopsis seemed exciting, fast paced, fill in the blanks. However the first chapter really threw me off and I was skeptical. I thought, let me keep going maybe it'll only get better from here. Sadly I was put off and bored and reading it seemed like a chore. I could not follow with the main character and her constant chatter just didn't add up most of the time. If revised, i would be happy to retry to reread like if it was abridged and or minor fixes but for now, gotta pass.

I'm not one to give bad reviews, by which I mean, if a book isn't all that great or not my taste (and I can't even bring myself to finish it), then I usually will not give a review if I'm not required. That being said, I'm reading the reviews of my fellow readers and feeling like we were all let down (to some degree) by this book, so I'd like to add to the discussion in the hopes that all of this will help the author out. I mean, I think that's part of what this review process is meant to do. So, with that said, here are some of the issues I came across within the first chapter (because, to be honest, that's all I could get through): Mysteries are great, but why do I care that this character is the person to narrate the mysterious disappearance of a man she professes right away not to know very well or be very close to? It doesn't really make sense to have a main character with little to no connection telling the reader this story, so I need some more reasons to care. Also, (maybe this is just my personal pet peeve) main characters who tell the reader what they look like and the kind of person that they are tend to be annoying. It's kind of like asking someone to describe themselves in three words and then they pick words like generous, wise, and faultless. (Be careful, there are definitely people out there like this.) The kind of people that choose those words are the kind of people the rest of us call: Pretentious. Something else that gives the reader the sense that the main character is pretentious: the word choice. I am all for big words, believe me, (sometimes reading through the dictionary is fun!) but big, fancy words are like extra rich dark chocolate bars: not that many people will even bother with them, of those that do, only a few love them enough to gobble them up, and the rest of us just give up on them and don't bother coming back for them later. And what good is all the time spent finding these chocolate-y words when people don't want to read them? Being a good storyteller does not necessarily mean being a wordsmith ALL THE TIME. That being said, there's something here that's worthwhile. It wouldn't be getting published if that was not the case. But, unfortunately, that special something is not coming across to readers when it should be.

Could not get into it at all. Had to put it down.

I was excited for this book based on the blurb, but in the end found it difficult to read. The story revolves around a week in life of a museum employee and what happens when one of her coworkers disappears. The mystery begins promisingly but seems to peter out at the end (or maybe I didn't get it!), and there were diversions (something to do with the museum sponsorship by a "dodgy" water company, missing coworker's wife) which didn't seem to get resolved by the end of the story. However, I did like the prose (even if it was a bit inconsistent sometimes) and the storyline on the narrator's personal life was quite funny. Thanks Penguin for the ARC!

Based on the description, I was very excited to read this book and even used my points to guarantee a copy. However, I could not make it through the book. I felt like the writing was choppy and there was an overuse of commas. It was very difficult to follow the writing and the ideas.

Sadly the description did not live up to my expectations for this novel. I thought it would be as mysterious as the description, but it was not. I actually found it trite and boring. I didn't Stella at all she was to whiny and the author just jumped around to much and the author's writing style and vocabulary was just to over the top. Thank you to Penguin's First to Read program. for the chance to review Impossible Views of the World.

It started out interesting, but the writing style is so stilted with over excessive comma use and wild changes in tone and formality from one page to the next that I had a really hard time reading it. I really wanted to read this since it sounded very interesting, but it just wasn't the book for me.

More like Impossible to read. Whiny Gen Y hipster lit that's overly verbose. Couldn't wait to put it down

I couldn't finish this book... The writing style was not for me. The story seemed to wander and was hard to follow.

Impossible Views of the World is a novel written by Lucy Ives and the first work I have read by the author. Middle aged Stella Krauss is having a terrible week. Working at an art museum in New York City her life is falling apart. Her divorce from Whitt has been messy, her colleagues aren't helping, and to top it off one of her coworkers has disappeared. Stella is reaching a dead end in her career and doesn't quite know where to go. Searching through Paul's folders after his disappearance Stella is intrigued when she stumbles over a 19th century map of a Utopian village. Now not only must she navigate her own messy life, but make sense of all the things Paul has left behind as well. I love art museums and have fond memories of traipsing through the Cloisters and MET when I lived in New York City. The art scene in New York is vibrant and often takes on a soul of its own. American furnishings make up a large portion of the American Works department at CeMArt where Stella works, and the descriptions of 18th century tables and chests reminded me of Donna Tratt's The Goldfinch. Also just look at the cover! Easily one of my favorites this year. However, I just could not get into the book. The plot seemed very jumbled to me and with so many side stories it was often difficult to follow along with the plot. Perhaps Lucy Ives intentionally did this to highlight the hectic nature of Stella's life, but it seemed superfluous and detracted from the main theme of the book. The ending also seemed lacking, things were left untied and relationships in free fall. Other reviews I have read complained about the word choice of Lucy Ives, and is true that she included a lot of five dollar words. I however appreciated the writing style and it was clear to me that Ives chose her words with care. Rather than being pretentious, I thought the writing was concise and refreshing. Ives did not rely on overplayed buzz words but instead utilized phrases like "effaced" and "marcelled." The writing had a distinct academic flavor that suited the voice of Stella. Entrenched in a world of research and wealth it would naturally reflect in her narration, I did not feel like the writing was contrived or out of place. So while the busyness of the plot only lent a 2/5 in my book, the museum setting and mystery would appeal to fans of From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.

Sorry. I can't do it. I just can't force myself to read this one.

I tried but could not finish. The author's writing style was difficult to follow. Ideas began like quirks, tossed in the air, only to be tossed aside mid-sentence by another idea having nothing to do with the previous, than joined by a third. By paragraph's end no ideas would be completed but a brand new idea would begin. Who cares? I don't know enough to care. Is the narrator a very short ugly woman? Again, who cares?

I really enjoyed part of this novel. Stella, an upper-middle-level employee at an American art museum, discovers an intriguing map in her deceased co-worker's office. This sets her on a quest to learn more about the imaginary, utopian world of Elysia as well as the goings-on of her mysterious former colleague. This leads her on a fun journey through computer files, commonplace books, obscure 19th-century novels, microfiches, forgotten literary journals, and biographies of bygone art patrons. I found it all compelling, even if I wasn't always sure why Stella was searching or what she hoped to find. But Stella is struggling with purpose, so a seemingly purposeless hunt makes sense for her. It does eventually lead somewhere, a rather modest reveal, but one that sets up worthwhile questions about art, display, value, and authenticity. The other half of the book is about Stella's personal life: her office affair, her messy divorce, her stalled career, her difficult beautiful mother and her general awkwardness as a human being. This half I didn't really enjoy. Stella is a bit too painfully uncool while everyone around her is the opposite, something she needs to comment on endlessly. At times Ives writes with subtlety, and her ability to mimic the language of old documents is admirable. But in other places, it felt clumsy and some of the dialogue made me cringe. But overall, what I enjoyed outweighs what I didn't. It's a pick, but mainly for people (like me) who enjoy art history or the who find the twists and turns of archival and primary text research "exciting."

I enjoyed the story and reading about behind the scenes of a museum but did not really like the characters and found the writing style very challenging to read. Thanks for the arc though.

I just could not finish this book! The story just wandered and I could not follow where it was going. So disjointed and disappointing!

I received this book through the First to Read program and was quite thrilled about it due to the synopsis. It turned out to be not THAT exciting at all. Ives uses a lot of fancy words to describe simple things, though it is understandable given the background of the main character, but it certainly makes it rather difficult to read. The story is good but it could’ve been developed in a better way adding a bit more of mystery, using less extravagant vocabulary, and creating more interesting characters.

A bit tough to get into at first with an extravagant and excessive vocabulary which is either not sustained through the book or I somehow managed to block it out. I did get into the story but it felt unresolved and left hanging even after about 300 pages.

I received the ARC of Impossible Views of the World by the publisher through the First to Read program in exchange for my honest review. From the first paragraph I knew this was going to be a tough read. Ives' writing style is so needlessly pretentious that it makes her story very hard to read without rolling your eyes. She uses many fancy words to say a whole lot of nothing. The writing was unnatural and felt forced and robotic. I felt Ives was trying to show she could write well instead of actually just telling her story. The story was lackluster as well. From the short synopsis I read I thought I would be reading a thrilling mystery and also reading about someone like me who is trying to get through her late 20s/early 30s in tact. This is NOT what was delivered. The mystery was anti climactic, and the characters in the book were all vile. Hard pass on this one. I will not be recommending to anyone I know. This very nearly went in my "Did Not Finish" reading pile and I only persisted because it was an ARC and I wanted to give a true review. I am so happy I didn't spend money on this. 1/5

Thank you to Penguin's First to Read program for this compelling debut novel! In Impossible Views of the World by Lucy Ives, heroine (or antiheroine?) Stella Krakus, a curator at a renowned art museum in New York, is having a pretty rough week. Her coworker and sometimes friend Paul has disappeared, her coworker and sometimes lover Fred cannot give her what she wants, and her soon-to-be ex-husband Whit is showing up in the most unwelcome of places. She is hitting the dreadful "dead end" point in her career and she's not even forty, and her glamorous mother Caro wants to talk out of the blue. Then there is the matter of her museum being taken over by a multinational water company that may want to take over the world... When Stella discovers a 19th-century map to a nonexistent Utopian community in Paul's desk, she is more than a little intrigued. She is doggedly determined to find out what it is for, who made it, and what Paul was doing with it before he disappeared. As Stella begins making connections with the map, poetry, a modern-day counterfeiting scheme, and phantom art in the archives of the museum, can she get to the bottom of the puzzle and still get her life together before it all spirals out of control? It is hard to sum up a book like this, where there is so much going on but so much of it rides on the backs of the characters. Stella is what I would almost call a stereotypical millennial (coming from a reviewer who also sees herself as one) and she is not always hard to relate to. Often, this book falls on pretensions. While this does make sense, given that it is written from the point of view of a Masters-educated art curator who was born to an elitist yuppy mother, it is a little off-putting for readers who are not dumb, but somehow don't understand a lot of the words/references in the book. The thing I really liked about the book was the prose. I know it is not to everyone's taste (Ives normally writes poetry, and it comes through), but I kind of liked the flowing prose. It is scattered with colloquial speech, as though to book is being narrated, which again many people don't like, but I felt it helped break up some of the monotony of the long and word-heavy phrases. (Will select some choice quotes and post them when the book comes out on August 1.) However, there was a lot of "stuff" about this book that I have a love/hate relationship with. Stella's character is flawed, which isn't a bad thing, but it is both easy and hard to relate to her- easy because I often fee the same way she does about jobs and relationships, hard because she often reacts so ambivalently to the bad shit around her that it is hard to even think she has emotions. In fact, the only time strong emotions are shown is when Stella is explaining her emotions of a past event. I get the whole "circumstances have made me numb," shtick, but this doesn't come through. The other characters are often caricatures of their given roles: the older, richer lover, the jilted ex husband, the slob boss, and the domineering mother. again, perhaps this is a take on the unreliable narrator trope so prominent in post-modern novels, but it doesn't translate here. Then there is the mystery of the plot. I think I was missing something, but I did not understand the resolution to anything except for Stella's work and love life. It was either an absurdist move of, "nothing is never really resolved," or I severely missed the point. And yet despite this, I found found Impossible Views simply impossible to put down. Maybe it is because I identified with the futile feeling of being slightly introverted while working in a competitive field in Manhattan, maybe because I am a little bit pretentious myself, but I was engrossed in Stella's imperfect little world, filled with elitists, old money, and art mysteries. This is not a read for everyone.

Not for me. I wanted to like this book given its stunning cover and intriguing summary, but found it to be a challenging slog despite the brief length. Ives' writing is far too pretentious to be enjoyable; I constantly had to reread sentences to fully comprehend what was happening. None of the characters are particularly compelling and a mere wisp of plot is present, which led me to wonder about the overall point of the story. One positive is that the tale allows for a peek behind the curtain at the world of art and curators, but that is not enough for me to recommend it.

The writing style and the extreme descriptions were not for me. The writing seemed unfocused and meandering.

An interesting premise but the writing was too self conscious. The lengths, the author went are beyond prose and err on being pedantic. Subjects and topics are forward thinking and the thirty something phenomena aptly tapped into, however too little and too much burden creating distraction. Thanks anyway for the ARC!

I'm a little at a loss with this book. It's much more character focused, than plot driven, which I would not have guessed from the marketing summary. The "mystery" plot is pretty thin, and there really isn't a big reveal. The museum setting and the various ties to art history are well done and pretty interesting. At first, I thought the book seemed ridiculously pretentious. But about 100 pages in, I started to feel like it was funny - that maybe I was supposed to be laughing at how ridiculously pretentious the main character, Stella, was. The character's speech patterns are so odd, I found even if I put the book down for an hour or two, it took me a few pages to get back into it. For example: "I don't mean to portray myself as a total naif, but this was precisely the sort of dialectic I had gotten married in order to avoid."

I began reading this with the best of intentions, but have to admit that thus book was way over my head. I love to have to think things through, however since the book lacked any form of flow or lyricism this was hard to do. I made it through the first day in the book and started into the second day, but just could not get into this book. Maybe the author should just stick to poetry. I am sure her poetry is great.

I picked this book for the gorgeous cover and well-written synopsis. However, the writing felt staccato. Although I do love a good vocabulary word, it seemed as though every other word was replaced with the most robust word possible, leading to a rather disjointed and stodgy sounding novel. I could not get over the lack of flow with these words and the seemingly flat main character.

In all honesty, I only made it through the first chapter and then quit. I didn't like the writing enough to keep going. Life is too short to read a book you don't want to read!

This book was a mixed bag for me. I was attracted by the beautiful cover (what's new) and a blurb I'd seen marketing it as "From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler for adults." That's a great sell. But then, once I started reading... Immediately I had a hard time with the prose. It was very choppy with an emphasis on both slang and figurative language that made for difficult going. Getting used to it was like reading an old book with very antiquated language. Odd cadences, funky asides or references. BUT - every once in awhile there were gems so witty or interesting that I immediately found myself highlighting. (Really - something super funny or just well-written. More of this please!) I wish a little more time had been spent smoothing the prose out. The characterization and plot felt as choppy as the prose. I had a hard time connecting with the main character, Stella. Her character had misanthropic old man tendencies mixed with young twenties impulsiveness. She didn't make sense or feel real to me. The connections between characters felt odd, too. Stella and Paul. Stella and Frank. Stella and Caro. It was like watching humans interact - except if you didn't know anything about how real humans experienced emotions. Like a mix of Devil Wears Prada and and that Barbara Pym book about clueless anthropologists, Less than Angels. Social strivers in museums who aren't behaving like humans but are very intent on their specific needs. What can I say. It's a specific mix. Finally, I guess I expected more out of the plot, but what plot was there was hard to follow. It's sort of a mystery, but the reveal is a little flat. The ending is abrupt. Altogether, a book that had promise, but for me didn't add up to very much. But - I'd probably still buy it just for the cover. It's amazing.

I received a digital copy of this book through the Penguin First to Read program (reviews aren’t required, but are preferred). I’ll be honest; it was the cover alone that sold me on this book. It’s just absolutely stunning! As for the book itself, maybe it was the mood I’ve been in lately, but I really struggled to get all the way through this one. It isn’t that I didn’t enjoy it, I just felt unable to get into the plot or feel attached to the main character. Which is a bit of a shame, since the writing itself was really lovely (the author included poems and research papers and other little bits like that to vary up the dialogue). The writing style for Impossible Views of the World was a breath of fresh air; it is just so very different from everything else I’ve been reading lately. It actually makes me feel bad saying I didn’t love the book, because while I didn’t love the plot, I really did love the writing itself, as well as the cover. Stella Krakus is a curator at Manhattan’s Central Museum of Art; she’s moderately successful at her job, having published one paper, and started on art history blog (which she abandoned later). She’s become disinterested in her work lately, but does a decent job of keeping it hidden. Her mother is a rich and relatively famous print dealer, and her father a lawyer. Her husband? Soon to be ex and a jerk and a half. That pretty much sums up Stella’s life, before the start of events in the novel. Stella is under a lot of stress in her life, between her forty-plus-hour a week job, the impending divorce (you know, whenever she can convince him to actually sign the papers), her office-affair still lingering in the air, and oh, her newly missing coworker, Paul. Despite all this, she manages to keep herself together (certainly more than I would have, credit to her). In truth I feel that her efforts to maintain control resulted in her numbing herself to the world, ever so slightly. Paul’s disappearance has Stella discovering a beautifully rendered map, which fascinates her so much she ends up running off on a quasi-treasure hunt because of it. The map itself depicts a 19th century settlement, named Elysia, which in itself has no current location. There are references to Elysia throughout fiction and history, but nothing definitive. The puzzle of this brings a whole new life to Stella and her opinion of art and the museum – she uses every resource available to her to discover the mystery that Paul was working on. I feel that through the journey to find Elysia, Stella actually managed to find herself along the way. It seems like her whole life was just her living up to everyone’s expectations (including her own), and she has finally found what she needed to free herself. Watching Stella through that transition was almost liberating, in a sense, and was the real highlight of the story to me. The ending itself was unexpected, but also refreshingly honest and believable. It fit with the story, giving the narrative the sense of finality required, while not overdoing it.

Not a fan. I wanted to like the complex poetic writing style, but the journey was a tedious, pretentious slog. I sat this aside after 60 or so pages and could not be convinced to return. Hopefully it will appeal to other readers (the stunning cover will certainly draw people in!) but the material just wasn't for me.

I was not able to open the book. Adobe Digital Editions is not running on Windows 10.

3.5 stars Thank you to First to Read for this opportunity. "I have modes of being that are less than elegant, and I have frequently used these to my advantage" I've never read a book by Lucy Ives before, but I can tell you from this experience she must be a poet, because that's all that jumps at you from page one, maybe I'll give her poetry books a chance sometime. I'd like to mention how amazing this cover is, and I'd pick it up just because of the cover, and the premise of the book sounded fantastic. Stella is our main character and we see her as dealing with a lot of stress (soon-to-be ex-husband, office romance, relationship with her mother), and keeping it all together, even when everything around her is too much to take. The book has an appendix, a timeline that helps sort things out an that is a plus. "As with all moments of intense temptation, I went rapidly on to be completely blind to both my own brazenness and my own wish" The writing style is different from recent books I've read however I must add that it's rather tiring the continues use of metaphor on a nearly poetic prose, it feels like a too much of an effort at times. The overall construction of the story was impressive. This is a book I'd recommend, it's a nice, quick read for the summer time, and it's a very small book.

An uneven book, with awkward narration and a disorganized, inconsistent voice, but some truly breathtaking imagery popping out here and there. The overall construction of the story was intricate and impressive -- I don't know that I've ever read a book quite like it. The use of history and art was great. The use of character a little less impressive. There are also some glaring issues with understanding quite what Stella's job is, what her goals are, why she does things from one hour to the next. I feel like I have spent time in her head and don't know her well. But I finished and the overwhelming feeling was that this story was just so darn interesting -- I'm still interested. Wait, stick around and finish your story! I have so many questions! There's a useful timeline in the back of the book that might help sort some things out as you read. And even though I have mixed feelings about how well it's written, I recommend it to folks looking for a good museum mystery. There's some good stuff in here. I got a free copy to review from First to Read.


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