The Peacock Feast

Proclaimed by critics as a “glorious chronicle”, “a perfect novel”,
and “a masterpiece”

The Top Ten of 2019—
AudioFile, Earphones Award Winner
“The Best New Books Coming Out Winter 2019″—Southern Living
“Notable New Releases, Feb. 2019″—Publishers Lunch
7 Best-Reviewed Books in Feb. 2019—Washington Independent Review of Books 

From “one of the most perceptive, compassionate writers of fiction in America…immensely talented and brave” (Michael Schaub, NPR), 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 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 age 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 twentieth century and three continents, The Peacock Feast ricochets from Manhattan to San Francisco, from the decadent mansions of the Tiffany family to the death row of a Texas 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.

Praise & Reviews

“[An] intricate, emotionally complex and glorious chronicle . . . Swerves and fatal mistakes abound . . . [in] this magical novel.”
–Jane Ciabattari, BBC-Culture

“[A] wonderfully complex, many-stranded novel . . . The Peacock Feast is marvelously rich in character, event and locale . . . A thoroughly rewarding novel and, though not terribly long, a truly mighty one.”
—Katherine A. Powers, Newsday 

“Lisa Gornick…has crafted a perfect novel in The Peacock Feast… [A] luxurious novel . . .It’s a book that beckons readers to get lost in its tapestry.”
–Jacqueline Cutler, New Jersey Star-Ledger

“You cannot stop paying attention for a single sentence in this book. It’s so beautifully woven . . . A masterpiece.”
Marrie Stone, Writers on Writing, KUCI

“Fun, trenchant, immersive . . . but on top of that I got historical and psychological mystery, art history, and several different lush settings . . . Exactly the book I needed.”
–Rebecca Makkai, Electric Literature

“A great novel…You will be deeply moved.  You may cry at the end…Gornick has given her readers a tale suffused with pathos and moral imperative, which tugs kindly and powerfully at our hearts.”
–Lloyd Sederer, New York Journal of Books

“[An] intricate, psychologically keen work . . . Gornick’s enthralling novel moves from the mansions of Oyster Bay to the communes of California, from Europe to America, propelling this wonderful work of fiction through family secrets and mysteries.”
The National Book Review

“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

“A time-switching story that focuses on relationships and character development and not the recitation of historical facts…The Peacock Feast doesn’t have the contemporary, fast-paced sense of so many historical novels today, instead embracing an old-fashioned feel. It’s more “tea in the drawing room” than #wineandbooks on Instagram, with ambling sentences meant to be read and not binged, and a sense of literary leisure at times evocative of the Gilded Age that anchors it.”
–Jennifer Klepper, Washington Independent Review of Books

“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

“THE PEACOCK FEAST, about generations of family and the secrets that seem to keep them, is so dazzling, that I found myself rereading pages.”
–Caroline Leavitt, Carolineleavittville

“Listeners will be fully engaged with Tavia Gilbert’s sublime narration…Issues of mortality and art, and the exquisitely rendered details of early-twentieth-century society, with its patriarchal tone and overt class prejudices, are memorably portrayed in this poignant audiobook.”
AudioFile Magazine

“A complex and extremely powerful multi-generational family story…”
—Marion Winik, The Weekly Reader

“For the thrill of discovering a new favorite author, try Lisa Gornick’s sweeping historical novel The Peacock Feast.”
―Dawn Raffel, NextTribe

“Lisa Gornick’s extensive background in clinical psychology gives her emotional tale about life-changing choices and reflection great texture and authenticity. This book will likely have the tears running and serve as an unexpected guide to a life of more mindful experiences. Grab this dark horse for yourself and your loved ones and start the year with new perspective.”
–Nathaniel Lee, Bookstr’s Three to Read

“Delicately weaving Grace’s present with Prudence’s past, acclaimed novelist Gornick spins an appealing and enthralling family saga.”
–Carol Haggas, Booklist

“Spanning a century, two coasts, and two continents, this well-researched historical novel is moving and profound.”
―Lauren Gilbert, Library Journal

“Gornick braids the lives of three generations across a span of 100 years in this vivid novel . . . [Her] prose is strong throughout; this is an intricately threaded story of family, secrets, loss, and closure.”
Publishers Weekly

“The deftness of Gornick’s talent is visible in the hints and glimpses of the past…Finely observed and ultimately redemptive.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Gornick has given us a beautifully written book, complex with characters’ stories across four generations. For all the sorrow and heartbreak in her character’s lives, we are left with understanding and hope.”
Literate Quilter

“A story about how family embraces and breaks you…Yes, read it.”
–Lolly K. Dandeneau, bookstalkerblog

“Every so often you come across a novel whose emotional range and complexity defies summary.  The Peacock Feast is that kind of book.  Yes, the title is confounding because the image of a peacock with its fanned plumage is foreshortened when paired with the word feast. But this hints at important themes which are explored so beautifully in this intelligent and satisfying novel.”
–Amanda Holmes, the next book