Susan Coll

Book Review
The New York Times
‘Impossible Views of the World’ by Lucy Ives

And then there is the appendix. You have turned the last page of Lucy Ives’s intricate, darkly funny debut, and a curious timeline appears. Have you missed a plot point or two or 10? How does Jenna Lyons’s appointment as the creative director of J. Crew figure into this novel about a brainy hot mess of a cartographic specialist and the strange goings-on at the fictional Central Museum of Art — or does it? Ditto for the mental-health woes of Caligula. If this sends you flipping back to Page 1, all the better, because there is so much going on in this novel, so many sharp observations packed into sentences as sensual and jarring as a Mardi Gras parade, that it bears a second look.

Stella Krakus, the reliably unreliable narrator of “Impossible Views of the World,” is a 30-something doctorate-holding dilettante stuck in an entry-level job that involves wrestling a mercurial coffee maker and performing “inane email tasks.” Stella is biding time along with others of her generation “until the boomers disperse and perish, etc.” When a 57-year-old colleague mysteriously vanishes, something of this nature may in fact have just occurred.

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