“A life is built of lies and magic, illusions bedded down with dreams. And in the end what haunts us most is the recollection of what we failed to see.” Dawn Tripp, GEORGIA
Georgia O’Keeffe, her love affair with photographer Alfred Stieglitz, and her quest to become an independent artist come vividly to life in this sensual and exquisitely written novel, a dazzling departure into historical fiction by the acclaimed novelist Dawn Tripp.
This is not a love story. If it were, we would have the same story. But he has his, and I have mine.
In 1916, Georgia O’Keeffe is a young, unknown art teacher when she travels to New York to meet Stieglitz, the famed photographer and art dealer, who has discovered O’Keeffe’s work and exhibits it in his gallery. Their connection is instantaneous. O’Keeffe is quickly drawn into Stieglitz’s sophisticated world, becoming his mistress, protégé, and muse, as their attraction deepens into an intense and tempestuous relationship and his photographs of her, both clothed and nude, create a sensation.
Yet as her own creative force develops, Georgia begins to push back against what critics and others are saying about her and her art. And soon she must make difficult choices to live a life she believes in.
A breathtaking work of the imagination, Georgia is the story of a passionate young woman, her search for love and artistic freedom, the sacrifices she will face, and the bold vision that will make her a legend.
Tripp has long been a favorite literary writer of mine, and O’Keeffe is a favorite artist; naturally I was eager to read GEORGIA. I expected the prose to be beautiful and the story to be interesting, but it far surpassed even my highest expectations.
I did not know GEORGIA would be written in the first person–from the point of view of the artist, herself–and if I had, I might have cringed. How to harness that voice? That person! Tripp has done it. O’Keeffe is so electric, so alive on these pages, the power and passion are almost too much. It must have taken great courage to take on O’Keeffe’s voice, but Tripp has accomplished a true channeling and faithfulness in this portrayal.
I also did not know the epic scope of the novel, and it pleased me to discover it. It’s incredibly difficult to write a life story that is not a biography, but Tripp has executed the writing to perfection, keeping every scene sharply focused on O’Keeffe’s development as an artist, while continually exploring what it means to be a woman.
Sensual, savage, revelatory, and heartbreaking, GEORGIA is a must read for fans of James Salter or Priya Parmar. This is one of the finest pieces of biographical historical fiction I have ever read–if not the best. I will forever be an evangelist for GEORGIA.
I have one copy of GEORGIA to give away to anyone (in the US) who comments on and shares this post by Thursday, February 11th at 4 PM ET. Tell me your favorite work of biographical fiction or your favorite O’Keeffe painting. Good luck!