Cannell Agency
Published by
Penguin Press (2017-08-01)
Current material
MS: Complete Unedited
Original language


by Ives, Lucy

A debut novel, set in a famous New York museum. Stella, a young, soon to be divorced woman gets entangled in a romance when a colleague goes missing and a mysterious map appears and sends Stella on a crazy research mission. "Bridget Jones" meets A.S. Byatt's "Possession".

Stella Krakus, a curator at Manhattan's renowned Central Museum of Art, is having the roughest week in approximately ever. Her soon-to-be ex-husband (the perfectly awful Whit Ghiscolmbe) is stalking her, a workplace romance with "a fascinating, hyper-rational narcissist" is in freefall, and a beloved colleague, Paul, has gone missing. Strange things are afoot: CeMArt's current exhibit is sponsored by a Belgian multinational that wants to take over the world's water supply, she unwittingly stars in a viral video that's making the rounds, and her mother--the imperious, impossibly glamorous Caro--wants to have lunch. It's almost more than she can overanalyze.

But the appearance of a mysterious map, depicting a 19th-century utopian settlement, sends Stella—a dogged expert in American graphics and fluidomanie (don't ask)—on an all-consuming research mission. As she teases out the links between a haunting poem, several unusual novels, a counterfeiting scheme, and one of the museum's colorful early benefactors, she discovers the unbearable secret that Paul's been keeping, and charts a course out of the chaos of her own life.

Pulsing with neurotic humor and dagger-sharp prose, IMPOSSIBLE VIEWS OF THE WORLD is a dazzling debut novel about how to make it through your early thirties with your brain and heart intact.

Lucy Ives is the author of several books of poetry and short prose, including Anamnesis, a long poem that won the Slope Book Prize, and the novella nineties. Her writing has appeared inBomb, Artforum, n+1, Conjunctions,and the Los Angeles Review of Books, and at For five years she was an editor with Triple Canopy, the Brooklyn-based online magazine. A graduate of Harvard and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she is completing a Ph.D. in comparative literature at NYU.

Available rights (49)

Language Territory Type Vendor Status
Albanian World All

Cannell Agency
Cynthia Cannell

Available View on Rightsdesk
Arabic World All

Cannell Agency
Cynthia Cannell

Available View on Rightsdesk
Belarusian World All

Cannell Agency
Cynthia Cannell

Available View on Rightsdesk
Belarusian World All

Cannell Agency
Cynthia Cannell

Available View on Rightsdesk
Bosnian World All

Cannell Agency
Cynthia Cannell

Available View on Rightsdesk
Find 44 more rights on Rightsdesk.


[An] intricate, darkly funny debut...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... Ives, an accomplished poet, infuses even mundane actions with startling imagery... It’s a smart novel brimming with ideas about love, art, personal agency, a lack thereof, and for the astute reader, a couple of minor characters sporting J. Crew.

Review: The New York Times Book Review

Yes! A diversion and a pleasure, this novel leaves you feeling smarter and hipper than you were before.

Review: Kirkus, starred review

[A] smart and singular debut novel… Ives maximizes her story’s humor with subtlety… [a] thoroughly satisfying novel.

Review: Publishers Weekly

Diehard DaVINCI CODE fans will find a new heroine in Stella, the code-cracking art curator at the center of this clever mystery.

Review: Cosmopolitan

IMPOSSIBLE is already one of's best of the month in fiction.

Quote: Amazon

Stella is like Hannah Horvath from Girls—smart, with an equal tendency toward snark and introspection—living in From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. The novel sends up the museum world, with pretentious art folks courting corporate dollars and the usual office politics, but maintains a sense of something larger, even magical, working in the background. Brainy, hipster fun.

Review: Booklist

There are abundant pleasures to be found in Lucy Ives’s debut novel about art curation, corporate control, and utopia, but the best is the poetic, elegant intelligence of its narrator, Stella Krakus, whose every sentence wryly climbs from the ridiculous to the sublime.

Quote: Teddy Wayne, author

The charm and energy of Impossible Views of the World rest in Ives's uncanny eye for the subtle tells of romance, the idiosyncrasies of the NYC young, and the details of 19th-century furniture and art… A clever curatorial mystery, a love-gone-wrong rom-com or a sharp-witted story of a young New York woman, Impossible Views of the World is way more fun than a rainy afternoon in the American Objects wing of a cavernous museum… A bit mystery, a bit rocky romance, a bit hipster lit--Impossible Views of the World is a diverting dip into 19th-century American art and tangled love at a New York City museum.

Review: Shelf Awareness

I first knew Lucy Ives's work as a poet, and to have her prose is a gift, too. The detailed novel she's built with such authenticity, wit, and feeling is remarkable for its vitality, insights, and lyrical view of a changing world.

Quote: Hilton Als, author of WHITE GIRLS

Lucy Ives’s cool and bracing new novel, Impossible Views of the World, is a perfect summer pleasure...the book offers access to one of the world’s most well-oiled cultural institutions, functioning as something of a From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler for grown-ups. An accomplished poet, Ives also knows how to delight sentence by sentence, with turns of phrase that cry to be underlined or Tweeted...It’s a singular work, worthy of a place in any world-class collection.

Review: Vogue

Lucy Ives, a deeply smart and painstakingly elegant writer, wins the prize with this intricate, droll, stylish book—at once a mystery novel, a romantic comedy, a tricky essay on aesthetics, an exposé of art-world foibles, and a diary of emotional distress. With sharp phrases, uncanny plot-turns, and mise-en-abymes galore, this mesmerizing tale radiates the haute irreality of Last Year at Marienbad and the dreamy claustrophobia of The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, this time for adults only.

Quote: Wayne Koestenbaum, poet and cultural critic

An award-winning poet who knows her subject…Ives debuts with an endearing multigenre blend of literary fiction, women’s fiction, and mystery.

Review: Library Journal

This book was written by a rampaging, mirthful genius. It stands before me like a runestone, magical, mysterious, an esoteric juggernaut masquerading as a 'debut novel.' During the days I spent reading it, I said goodbye to all else.

Quote: Elizabeth McKenzie, author

"Buzz Books" for Spring/Summer 2017, which features Lucy Ives' IMPOSSIBLE VIEWS OF THE WORLD.

Quote: Publishers Marketplace

More like this