Faculty Bookshelf: Adam Golaski

Color Plates

Adam Golaski


Color Plates is a museum of stories, curated by a sort-of Mary Cassatt. Four rooms of Mary’s museum are open to the public: Éduoard Manet, Edgar Degas, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and Mary Cassatt. In them, sixty-three little stories—plates—spun from their works. Not exactly a short story collection, not a novel. The plates stand alone, but offer the satisfactions of a long narrative, with recurring characters, themes, and motifs. The museum says: "My name is Mary and Mary is my museum. Paintings are brushstroke upon brushstroke. With a pencil I lift each brush­stroke and make lines."

“In this doubly ekphrastic collection, busy, vertiginous worlds open up from the two dimen­sions of a painted canvas, or the still more meager resources of the printed page: family upon family, girlfriend after girlfriend, inverting hills, a collapsing balcony, a retreating shoreline, a sleeping projectionist and a slipping picture, shadow boxes and cast parties, carousel horses and paper jockeys, baths and mirrors, doubles and trains, grass green, lamp green, jade green, & dress green. Each painting opens up onto prose, each prose opens up into a kind of chambered flux, and, on such ingenious axes, human figures flex, dip, and leap like tiny tumblers.”—Joyelle McSweeney, author of Flet and Nylund, the Sarcographer

“The haunted, haunting tales in Adam Golaski’s Color Plates share a painterly attention to ‘quick application, short strokes’ and the same idiosyncratic, off-kilter take on narrative as the canvases by Manet, Degas, Cassatt, and Toulouse-Lautrec this book invokes. These brief stories invent and re-invent worlds: as the book itself has it, ‘they start one way and go another.’”—Joshua Harmon, author of Quinnehtukqut and Scape

Color Plates is a breakthrough collection. I could not put this book down. Like all lovers of contemporary fiction, I hunt for that rare and intelligent voice that both inspires and delights—Golaski is that voice. A trickster more deft than Steven Millhauser, Golaski is a visionary wordsmith and Color Plates is a wonder box of stories. Not only will I buy this book for my friends and relatives, I will carry Color Plates around with me to spark my own imagination and writing—a one-of-a-kind book find, a mind-blowing reading experience. I love this book.”—Debra Magpie Earling, author of Perma Red

ISBN: 978-0-312-37524-9