Author: Tova Mirvis
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publish Date: March 18, 2014
Source: I received a copy from the publisher; however, this did not affect my review.
Why You're Reading This Book:
- You're a fiction fan.
- You like stories that make you think.
From Goodreads.com: "Nina is a harried young mother who spends her evenings spying on the older couple across the street through her son’s Fisher-Price binoculars. She is drawn to their quiet contentment—reading on the couch, massaging each other’s feet—so unlike her own lonely, chaotic world of nursing and soothing and simply getting by. One night, through that same window, she spies a young couple in the throes of passion. Who are these people, and what happened to her symbol of domestic bliss?
In the coming weeks, Nina encounters the older couple, Leon and Claudia, their daughter Emma and her fiancé, and many others on the streets of her Upper West Side neighborhood, eroding the safe distance of her secret vigils. Soon anonymity gives way to different—and sometimes dangerous—forms of intimacy, and Nina and her neighbors each begin to question their own paths.
With enormous empathy and a keen observational eye, Tova Mirvis introduces a constellation of characters we all know: twenty-somethings unsure about commitments they haven’t yet made; thirty-somethings unsure about the ones they have; and sixty-somethings whose empty nest causes all sorts of doubt. Visible City invites us to examine those all-important forks in the road, and the conflict between desire and loyalty."
My Two Cents:
Visible City" starts out feeling very much like Hitchcock's Rear Window (which is my very favorite Hitchcock movie by the way) and turns out to be something much more. Nina can't help but to spy on her apartment building neighbors. She yearns for their seemingly calm lives and makes up stories as to what she thinks is going on with them. They seem to have their lives all together when she feels like her life is falling apart. When she meets the neighbors that she had been watching, she quickly realizes that the grass is not always greener on the other side. I ate through this book so quickly and had a hard time putting it down. It is a well written reflection on the idea that we all have doubts about what we are doing or not doing and we are all a little scared even if we are trying hard not to show it.
I loved how Mirvis was able to weave all of the characters together. Books with a lot of characters can be sort of a mixed bag for me. Sometimes they get a little bit too confusing but Mirvis is able to really give each character their own voice. Nina starts out as the main character but more are added as the book goes on.
There were so many little details that I really loved in this book. I loved reading about Emma's struggle to decide where her life is supposed to be going. It felt really real to me. I also loved the bit about Nina's husband, who is supposed to be working a well-regarded job that he isn't really sure that he likes, exploring the underground of the city instead of being at home with his family. All of these little details really made the characters interesting and really come to life for me.
This book definitely resonated with me. I think the struggle to feel like we are in the same boat as everyone else when it comes to our dreams, hopes, and fears is an amazing realization and one that I find I need reminders about myself.