The Portrait of a Mirror: A Novel
Wes and Diana are ambitious, ill-suited spouses rattling around a showy but poorly designed loft in New York City. Dale and Vivien, in Philadelphia, are an engaged couple more in love with the idea of their upcoming wedding than with each other. It seems fated that the couples’ lives will intersect: Wes and Vivien went to the same prep school, and Vivien is in NYC for work; Dale and Diana are both consultants on the same project in Philadelphia. Attractions, flirtations, risks, and genuinely terrible decision-making lead all four parties to an inflection point. They must reassess their requirements for happiness—and ask themselves who they really are when not in the direct line of others’ adoring gazes. These wealthy, privileged, beautiful millennials are as in love with themselves as they claim to be with one another, and no one will escape the entanglements entirely unharmed.
Billed as a retelling of the myth of Narcissus, Portrait is as funny as it is tragic; the arch-intellectuality, painful self-consciousness, and exquisitely strict codes of conduct give these characters slim room to maneuver as they move about their urban, urbane lives. Their desire for happiness is, perhaps, the only truly genuine thing about them—but happiness, like Narcissus’s watery reflection, proves to be an illusion, always out of reach.
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