I don’t know why Visible City is the first book by Tova Mirvis that I’ve read, but it is. And I loved it. It is like the books was specifically crafted for me or someone like me: urban dweller (and loves it), failed academic, stay at home mom, the list goes on. Visible City corresponded to my life like few books have. I guess what I’m saying is that I loved this book because of who I am, not because of what the books has to offer.
So what does Visible City have to offer? It is the story of several New Yorkers who’s lives overlap simply because of where they live. The main character, if there is one, is Nina, a successful lawyer who has given up her career to stay at home with her kids. She’s not happy with her life and looks to lives’ of other to fill in a gap. That’s right, she’s a people watcher.
I love the way the characters’ lives in Visible City criss and cross and overlap. While all this is happening opinions about the various characters change. Wendy, the super together uber-mom turns out to be clinging to the edge. The cute middle-age couple across the way do not have the idyllic life that was envisioned. And Nina’s own husband has a secret life of his own.
Who would like this book? Visible City is a really strong, ensemble cast novel. It encapsulates urban life perfectly. When you live in a city there is an awful lot going on in the 6 block radius that you inhabit, and most of it goes mostly unseen. Some aspects of the novel, like the competitive parenting reminded me of The Hive by Gill Hornby. Others have compared it to Meg Wolitzer’s works, which is always a good comparison in my books. But overall, I’d suggest that this book is for the 30 something, new parent who is filled with angst and uncertainty living in an urban environment. Or anyone else who likes that kind of thing.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.