A young photographer just winning recognition for her work, Harriet Rose is possessed by an eccentric sensibility, the product of a childhood in which privilege and haunting loss were intertwined. At twenty-six, it seems that things are going her way at last: she has found love with a painter, Benedict Thorne, and a travel fellowship has brought her to Geneva, where she can stay with her old Greenwich Village roommate and best friend, Anne Gordon.
But Anne has changed "into a strange new mistress-person," Harriet writes in a letter/journal she keeps for Benedict. Anne has become "frighteningly accessorized," turning into an "Anne of Cleavage." She is in the midst, Harriet soon learns, of a disastrous affair with a much older married man. As Harriet wonders how -- or whether -- to rescue Anne, events take a series of unexpected turns, and Harriet's past is once more reflected, darkly, in the present.
Can you rescue somebody who doesn't want to be rescued? How far can you trust your own perceptions? Objects in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear considers these questions while marking the debut of a distinctive writer. Funny, sad, layered with Nabokovian word games, this is a striking and profound first novel.