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The Suicide of Claire Bishop by Carmiel Banasky

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The Suicide of Claire Bishop by Carmiel Banasky


The Suicide of Claire Bishop by Carmiel Banasky


Publication Date: September 15, 2015
Paperback: 392 pages
ISBN: 978-1-938103-08-7

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Greenwich Village, 1959. Claire Bishop sits for a portrait—a gift from her husband—only to discover that what the artist has actually depicted is Claire’s suicide. Haunted by the painting, Claire is forced to redefine herself within a failing marriage and a family history of madness. Shifting ahead to 2004, we meet West, a young man with schizophrenia who is obsessed with a painting he encounters in a gallery: a mysterious image of a woman’s suicide. Convinced it was painted by his ex-girlfriend, West constructs an elaborate delusion involving time-travel, Hasidism, art-theft, and the terrifying power of representation. When the two characters finally meet, in the present, delusions are shattered and lives are forever changed.

Excerpts from The Suicide of Claire Bishop have been published in Vol.1: Brooklyn and Lit Hub.

Praise for The Suicide of Claire Bishop

“Daring, precise, and linguistically acrobatic, this novel brings a history of America alive, from the war protests in the sixties to turn-of-the21st-century art theft. A fearless portrayal of madness and its consequences, Carmiel Banaksy's debut novel tracks the life of a suicidal housewife and her unlikely, schizophrenic counterpart. This is a new writer to savor, reminiscent of Nicole Krauss, Michael Chabon and Andrew Sean Greer.”

—Colum McCann, National Book Award-winning author of Let the Great World Spin and TransAtlantic

“Vivid, strange and always compelling, The Suicide of Claire Bishop weaves together art, politics and the specter of madness in an unforgettable New York story. Carmiel Banasky, a writer like no other, is a talent to watch.” 

—Claire Messud, author of The Emperor's Children and The Woman Upstairs

“A magnificent, astute debut that portends greatness, The Suicide of Claire Bishop whisks us through one of the most epic eras of American history. While her heroic scope rivals that of of The Goldfinch and her boldly lush storytelling nods to Let the Great World Spin, Carmiel Banasky’s pages unfurl with an intense artistry all their own. A fantastically captivating and beautifully rendered book!”

 —Claire Vaye Watkins, author of Battleborn and Gold Fame Citrus

“A memorable, intricate, and inventive debut....both an intellectual tour de force and a moving reflection on the ways we try to save ourselves and others.”

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Banasky writes beautifully and with great empathy.” 

Kirkus Reviews

The Suicide of Claire Bishop—a story of obsession and art, haunted and complex—is amazing, and Banasky’s descriptive skills are extraordinary. Not to be missed.”

—Andrew Sean Greer, author of The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells

About the Author

Carmiel Banasky is a writer and teacher from Portland, OR. Her work has appeared in Glimmer Train, American Short Fiction, Slice, Guernica, PEN America, The Rumpus, and NPR, among other places. She earned her MFA from Hunter College, where she taught Undergraduate Creative Writing. She is the recipient of awards and fellowships from Bread Loaf, Ucross, Ragdale, Artist Trust, I-Park, and others foundations.