In fifteen masterful stories, Frederic Tuten entertains questions of existential magnitude, pervasive yearning, and the creative impulse. A wealthy older woman reflects on her relationship with her drowned husband, a painter, as she awaits her own watery demise. An exhausted artist, feeling stuck, reads a book of criticism about allegory and symbolism before tossing her paintings out the window. Writing a book about the lives of artists he admires–Cezanne, Monet, Rousseau–a man imagines how each vignette could be a life lesson for his wife, the artist he perhaps admires the most. Whether set in Tuten’s beloved Lower East Side, Rome’s Borghese Gardens, or a French seaside resort, these stories shift seamlessly between the poignancy of memory into the logic of fairytales or dreams, demonstrating Tuten’s exceptional ability to transmute his passion for art and life to the page.

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