The narrative follows the journey of working class protagonists starting off as young people dreamy as in a Van Gogh painting, through economic odds, hardships, children, battlefield accident causing limb loss, trials in love, commitment phobia and regained bonding.
ADVANCE PRAISE for WHERE WE SET OUR EASEL
“Where We Set Our Easel is a marvel, a chapbook-length collection of stories that are as textured and nuanced as poetry yet novelistic in scope. The trajectories of the two main characters are set in motion from the first sentences of the initial story, a meditation on a Van Gogh painting that moves from a future time back to the snapshot of a moment in front of a café that’s both sorrowful and ironic in its raw hope. Throughout the book, time is juggled—fast-forwarded and reversed, telescoped and microscoped— as the early, hopeful days of a marriage turn sour and ultimately dissolve. Like any great painting, the story here is in the details, the before and after of love, the intimacy of two lives as they converge and ultimately diverge.” Sarah Freligh, author of A Brief Natural History of Women
“These stories promise us a stirring experience, and they deliver, in immediacy, in resonance, in meaning, in a soul-touch we won’t soon forget.”— Tommy Dean, author of Hollows
“Mandira Pattnaik’s Where We Set Our Easel is a meditation on physical and temporal distance that considers the physics of existence and how love grows or erodes in accordance. She frames her novella as one would an exhibit, with each part tied together by endearing and complex characters, as well as a rich sense of place, unbound by time. So much dwells in possibility, in the fragments of memory; Pattnaik explores this tension and the resolution of loss through separation, extinction, or simply growing up. Ultimately, when she asks, “Do you see what I mean?” readers will respond, “Yes, and we can feel it, too.” — Alison Lubar, author of Philosophers Know Nothing. About Love, queer feast, sweet euphemism, and It Skips a Generation
“Told with a painter’s eye and poet’s heart, Where We Set Our Easel is sprinkled with Kakopo birds and towns fragrant with green apples, acacia, and peaches. It’s dreamlike and lyrical, a story that will live with you long after you finish it.” — Francine Whitte, author of Just Outside the Tunnel of Love
“I’d like to meet you, potential reader, for coffee, to read you out loud some quotes from this book’s delicious prose. Instead, please take it from me here–Mandira Pattnaik’s Where We Set Our Easel is a sensual pleasure to read. It is also, in ways alluring and heart wrenching, about the promises, complexities, and frustrations of love.”–Pushcart Prize nominee Maud Lavin, author of Cut with the Kitchen Knife (a New York Times Notable Book)
“In the world of Where We Set Our Easel, the canvas continues outside the frame, and there’s a sense that the work of art that is these characters’ lives is still in progress, the paint hasn’t dried.”TRANSCENDING THE IMMEDIATE: A CONVERSATION with EMILY HUSO in ATTICUS REVIEW MAY 13, 3023
WHERE WE SET OUR EASEL “is a series of frames that explore the arc of long-term love.”REVIEW of Where We Set Our Easel by DAVE NASH in FIVE SOUTH LITERARY
“in her stories, societal and environmental concerns such as global warming and the overdevelopment of her beloved country. “SHORT STORY TODAY: Podcast by Jon DiSavino, Ranked #11 of 20 Best Short Story podcast in 2023; MAY 10, 2023
“Pattnaik’s storytelling prowess shines through each standalone flash. A literary masterpiece!”KRISTEN SIMENTAL, Founder/Publisher, FIVE SOUTH LITERARY JOURNAL, Finalist de Groot Prize Fmr: Inscape Magazine
“This novella-in-flash is EXCELLENT!”EPISTEMIC LITERARY, MAY 16, 2023
“Rich in metaphor and imagery, it is – like all good flash fiction – as powerful for what it leaves unsaid, inviting the reader to develop their own pictures of relationship, its challenges and rewards. Using techniques of time-shift, repetition and cut-up, varying pace and mood and working her texts with the precision of a scalpel, Pattnaik has created a shining, multifaceted gem.”Author Interview by Cath Barton and brief review of Where We Set Our Easel
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