Where We Set Our Easel


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.


“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)


Where We Set Our Easel out in the world! Pictures shared by readers on Twitter!

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