Violet Clay had come to New York City from Charleston to take the art world by storm. But nine years, many affairs, and thousands of drinks later, the reality of her shadow life is made clear when she is fired from her job as a freelance illustrator. That same day, she hears that her beloved Uncle Ambrose, an unsuccessful writer, has shot himself.
As Violet collects the shattered pieces of her uncle's life, she is forced to face herself and her own tattered dreams. And what she discovers is that she has just been going through the motions of living. She's not even sure she can do anything else. But she's in her mid-thirties and knows she still has time to try again. If she succeeds, she will have broken from her family of dreamers forever and can deservedly claim both the rich rewards and frustrating adversities of the artist's life....
"Violet Clay is filled with wonderful language, wonderful people and wonderful insights.... It is about families, destinies, terrors and exaltations...I will not soon forget it, It is the work of one of the very best writers we have"
-- Jonathan Yardley
The Miami Herald
"I love Gail Godwin's women. They are strong, intelligent, funny, often self-mocking. They are tough on themselves... fall into predictable pits, but expect everything of themselves"
-- Susan Shreve
The Washington Post
"A damned good, old-fashioned story...A modern portrait of an artist as a young woman...Remarkable."
-- Chicago Tribune
"Violet Clay shows Gail Godwin as a painterly writer and a very good novelist indeed."
-- The Boston Globe