Optic Nerve

Optic Nerve

The narrator of Optic Nerve is an Argentinian woman whose obsession is art. The story of her life is the story of the paintings, and painters, who matter to her. Her intimate, digressive voice guides us through a gallery of moments that have touched her.

In these pages, El Greco visits the Sistine Chapel and is appalled by Michelangelo’s bodies. The mystery of Rothko's refusal to finish murals for the Seagram Building in New York is blended with the story of a hospital in which a prostitute walks the halls while the narrator's husband receives chemotherapy. Alfred de Dreux visits Géricault's workshop; Gustave Courbet's devilish seascapes incite viewers “to have sex, or to eat an apple”; Picasso organizes a cruel banquet in Rousseau’s honor. . . . All of these fascinating episodes in art history interact with the narrator's life in Buenos Aires—her family and work; her loves and losses; her infatuations and disappointments. The effect is of a character refracted by environment, composed by the canvases she studies.

Seductive and capricious, Optic Nerve is a book that captures, like no other, the mysterious connections between a work of art and the person who perceives it.

Title:Optic Nerve
Edition Language:English
ISBN:null
Format Type:

    Optic Nerve Reviews

  • lark benobi

    From the first page, I was immediately and intensely endeared to the narrator of Optic Nerve. I would follow this narrator on any reading journey, wherever she would lead me, because the places she le...

  • Tony

    This was fascinating. It's called a novel but it's its own genre really. The first-person narrator reads so true you'd swear it's memoir.That narrator has studied art and each chapter features an arti...

  • Marchpane

    鈥淕ood, bad, what kind of gauge is that?鈥 says Mat铆as. 鈥淓ither one likes a thing, or one does not. That is all. Now, get your lips around this mint julep and try telling me it isn鈥檛 art.鈥漁pt...

  • Jerrie (redwritinghood)

    This is the second book that I finished today that I would call weird and wonderful. The narrator relates episodes from her life through various works of art and the stories of the artists. Wonderful ...

  • Rachel

    This book should have done so much more for me than it actually did.聽 I'm a bit of an art history geek, so autofiction about an art geek musing on various paintings sounded like it was going to be a ...

  • Collin

    This novel is shortlisted for the 2020 ToB.This novel is about a woman, an art historian, an art lover, who is reminiscing about her life. As an art lover, much of this reminiscing revolves around her...

  • Will

    I was initially torn between a 4 or 5 star rating. In the end, this is such a little gem of a novel that I simply had to give it the max. Special, original - it might not appeal to everyone but I love...

  • Julie Ehlers

    Billed as a novel by its publisher, Optic Nerve reads more like a series of personal essays, each of which focuses on a different painting and its artist. Interwoven with the tales of the artists are ...

  • Claire

    Is it a novel? Or maybe short stories? Auto-fiction? Personal essays? At the end of Optic Nerve, I still wasn鈥檛 sure what exactly it was I鈥檇 read, but it didn鈥檛 make it any less engraving. For w...

  • Michelle

    52 Weeks of Women of Color2020 Tournament of Books "Everything is a story." Art is a mirror reflecting life off its surface. Please do not approach Optic Nerve as a simple novel where the reader is...