The golden rule of reading: never judge a book by its cover. Well, I’m not going to lie, I picked up this book because of the beautiful and colorful cover- and I’m so glad I did! “Tuesday Nights in 1980” is an impressive debut novel by Molly Prentiss about three people who find themselves at the center of the Soho, New York art scene in 1980. You have Raul Engales, a painter and womanizer from Argentina, James Bennett, an oddball art critic with synesthesia, and Lucy Olliason, a young girl from Ketchum, Idaho trying to survive in the big city.
Raul’s art career is on the rise, but a horrible accident leaves him unable to continue painting. He attempts to remove himself from the art scene, but finds himself slowly brought back in by Lucy and James. James’s condition allows him to write about art in an impactful form, but his synesthesia disappears after a traumatizing event. James is convinced that Raul Enagles is the only person who can bring his ability back. And then you have Lucy. Lucy is in love with Raul but after he disappears, because of his accident, she finds comfort in James Bennett. Throughout the story their paths intertwine and relationships develop- but just as the art scene is ever changing so are the characters, their lives, and their relationships with each other and art.
Prentiss created characters that are not only believable, but also likable and relatable. I found myself forming a bond with and becoming attached to them. She also included some of the most colorful minor characters, which really helped to set the scene of 1980’s New York. The multi-plot lines helped to build the tension between the characters, which results in a deeply moving story with witty and animated dialogue.
I’m never sure what to expect when I read a debut novel, but Prentiss’ writing is fascinating! I would definitely recommend this book to readers, who love art, the big apple, or a good dramatic story! I’m excited to read more of Prentiss’ writing in the future!
I am a HUGE music lover. I love music’s ability to define and bring out any emotion. So, I’ve been doing this weird thing where I make a playlist based on the book that I am currently reading. Brilliant, right?! I made a playlist of songs that I felt really defined some of the emotions in this novel. The best part? All of these songs were popular in 1980! I hope you enjoy my first ever book playlist! Let me know what you think in the comments!