The Peacock Feast
“One of those rare books that feels both grand and intimate”
“A dazzling panorama of a novel”
“Gripping and elegantly nuanced”
–Christina Baker Kline
From the critically acclaimed author of Louisa Meets Bear, a historical saga about love, class, and the past we never escape.
The Peacock Feast opens on a June day in 1916 when Louis C. Tiffany, the eccentric glass genius, dynamites the breakwater at Laurelton Hall—his fantastical Oyster Bay mansion with columns capped by brilliant ceramic blossoms, and a smokestack hidden in a blue-banded minaret—so as to foil the town from reclaiming the beach for public use. The explosion shakes both the apple crate where four-year-old Prudence, the daughter of Tiffany’s prized gardener, is sleeping and the rocks where Randall, her seven-year-old brother, is playing.
Nearly a century later, Prudence receives an unexpected visit at her New York apartment from Grace, a hospice nurse and the granddaughter of Randall, who Prudence never saw again after he left at fourteen for California. The mementos Grace carries from her grandfather’s house stir Prudence’s long-repressed memories and bring her to a new understanding of the choices she made in work and love, and what she faces now in her final days.
Spanning the 20th century and three continents, The Peacock Feast ricochets from Manhattan to San Francisco, from the decadent mansions of the Tiffany family to a Texas death-row prison, and from the London consultation room of Anna Freud to a Mendocino commune. With psychological acuity and aching eloquence, Lisa Gornick has written a sweeping family drama, an exploration of the meaning of art and the art of dying, and an illuminating portrait of how our decisions reverberate across time and space.
Early Praise for THE PEACOCK FEAST
“THE PEACOCK FEAST is one of those rare books that feels both grand and intimate, bringing the reader deeply into a very vivid past. Lisa Gornick has written an engrossing and impressive book.”
—Meg Wolitzer, author of New York Times Best Seller The Female Persuasion
“THE PEACOCK FEAST is a dazzling panorama of a novel—moving from a Tiffany mansion to a gardener’s tenement apartment to a sixties’ commune to a death row unit to an old woman’s beautifully decorated last room. The forces of social history and the forces of personal trauma weave the remarkable plot, and readers will be left applauding.”
—Joan Silber, winner of the 2018 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction and the 2018 Pen/Faulkner Award for Fiction
“An explosive moment that shatters generations, a buried trauma, the unspoken weight of history: In this original and beautifully rendered novel, two women, strangers to each other, hold pieces of a puzzle they can only construct together. Weaving fact and fiction to paint the evolution of a family over the sweep of a century, Lisa Gornick plumbs the connections that transform lives in a book that is both gripping and elegantly nuanced.”
—Christina Baker Kline, author of the #1 New York Times Best Seller Orphan Train