Now republished after nearly three decades, His Vision of Her is a cult classic that tells the story of obsessive love, shifting sexual identities, self-deception, and ambition in the New York City art world during the 1980s. When Stephen, manager of a chic Soho bookstore, meets Gilberte, a beautiful, ambitious, young photographer just beginning her career in New York, he becomes obsessed with her. Stephen offers her a home in his loft when she has nowhere to stay, and he soon becomes her trusted consigliere and lover. Seduced by her own early success, Gilberte is determined to chase fame despite Stephen’s attempts to keep her under his control and focused on her art. Gilberte’s rapid rise in the art world is aided and abetted by her collusion with Kristine, the wealthy, status-hungry woman who steals her away from Stephen and becomes her patroness, as well as replacing him as her lover.
As the more volatile aspects of the relationship between Stephen, Gilberte, and Kristine play themselves out, the narrative explores the nature of love and jealousy, art and integrity. It remains as relevant today as it did when it was first published in terms of depicting the undercurrents and fascinating characters who inhabit the center and the margins of the New York art world.
Praise for His Vision of Her
“Dess charts the cultural geography of New York’s downtown art scene with care and arch wit.”
“Dess’ wonderful social observations are marred by slack pacing and overabundant explanation. A satisfying read, however–particularly if big-city manners are your cup of gin.”
“To the glut of enervated first novels set in downtown Manhattan, G.D. Dess has provided a tonic voice of irony. …Mr. Dess considers art and authenticity, love and exploitation, appearance and reality. It is a tribute to Mr Dess’ technical precision and to his compassion that, even though the medium of Stephen’s rarified vision of Gilberte, we get an indelible and poignant vision of them both.”
—New York Times Sunday Book Review. Read full review:
Reader reviews from the first edition
“You created lovely characters that confounded me with their stubbornness, their cynicism, self-deprecating humor, sharp sarcasm, brutal honesty and mind-blowing, heart-stopping tenderness…I reread many paragraphs upon reaching their end, to savor the bittersweet melancholy.”
“Your imagery is the best I have read in a long time. ‘With what was left of my powers of reason I decided that alcohol was like a liquid eraser.’ I am certain that I will plagiarize this sentence in the not too distant future.”