Search View Archive

Idra Novey

Idra Novey is the award-winning author of the novels Ways to Disappear and Those Who Knew. Her work has been translated into a dozen languages and she’s written for The Atlantic, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times. She teaches fiction at Princeton University and in the MFA Program at New York University.

from Take What You Need

Deep in the mountains of Pennsylvania, a sixty-six year old woman named Jean welds scrap metal into massive sculptures. These works, which she dubs her “Manglements,” assert themselves into the foreground of the story with the same haunting force of Louise Bourgeois’s works—which makes sense given that Bourgeois is Jean’s greatest influence and the central source of reflection on the artistic impulse in Idra Novey’s superb new novel, Take What You Need. Amid the sawdust and machine oil, there’s a whiff of distrust. The novel deeply examines the intersection of art and trust, which is a central, if quiet, conversation often overlooked in the sensationalist depictions of art monsters in contemporary fiction. Novey relates an outsider artist’s life, and her step-daughter’s reckoning with that life, with resonance and connection to the broader world beyond the workshop.


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2023

All Issues