The Nude: A Novel (Hardcover)

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A gripping, provocative, and sensual debut novel about an art historian who journeys to a Greek island in pursuit of a found sculpture and quickly finds herself immersed in a cultural tug-of-war and a complicated love affair.

1999: An island off the southern coast of Greece. Art historian Elizabeth Clarke arrives with the intent to acquire a rare female sculpture. But what begins as a quest for a highly valued cultural artifact evolves into a trip that will force Elizabeth to contend with her career, her ambition, and her troubling history.

Disoriented by jet lag, debilitating migraines, and a dependence on prescription pills, Elizabeth turns to her charming and guileless translator to guide her around the labyrinthine island. Soon, the island’s lushness—its heat and light, its textures and tastes—take hold of Elizabeth. And when she’s introduced to her translator’s inscrutable wife—a subversive artist whose work seeks to deconstruct the female form—she becomes unexpectedly enthralled by her. But once the nude’s acquisition proves to be riskier than Elizabeth could have ever imagined, Elizabeth’s and the statue’s fate are called into question. To find a way out, Elizabeth must grapple with her past, the role she’s played in the global art trade, and the ethical fallouts her decisions could leave behind.

The Nude is an evocative and intense exploration of art, cultural theft, and what it means to be a woman helming morally complicated negotiations in a male-directed world.

About the Author

C. Michelle Lindley’s writing has been featured in The Georgia ReviewConjunctions, and more. She has received support from the National Endowment for the Arts and has an MFA in Creative Writing from Cornell University and a BA from the University of Berkeley in English and Art History. The Nude is her first novel.

Praise For…

"Thrillingly taut and magnetically told, The Nude pries apart the pristine veneer of classical art and allows something sublimely twisted to emerge. Lindley has a gift for rendering the contours and shadows of her characters, and for helping the reader to peer more deeply into the unknown." ALEXANDRA KLEEMAN, author of Something New Under the Sun 

"C. Michelle Lindley’s The Nude is as seductive and sensual as it is haunting. Set on a Greek island, wrought in a delirium of desire and loss, The Nude looks unflinchingly at the violent contestation of the female body—as artifice and art, and object and agent alike. This is a book that I swallowed hungrily and that has stayed with me long afterward. Exhilarating, terrifying, and brilliant." —EMILY FRIDLUND, author of History of Wolves

"As thought-provoking as it is propulsive...a tense and sultry tale of art, beauty and power. A richly detailed read for the salty summer months" —Chloë Ashby, author of Second Self

"A captivating and profound novel that delves unflinchingly into the eternal love triangle between desire, power, and art, The Nude gripped me from the first line to the last. This is a masterful debut." —ANTOINE WILSON, author of Mouth to Mouth

“As stunning, complex, and carefully crafted as the sculpture our art historian protagonist hopes to acquire, I was astounded and utterly enchanted by Lindley’s portrayal of a woman’s internal journey from object to subject. The porousness of marble is a perfect metaphor for the vulnerabilities and dissolving boundaries of a woman finding autonomy in a world that insists on her complicit confinement. The lush, lyrical writing of The Nude depicts the gray areas of cultural appropriation, ethics, and sexuality so seamlessly, I had to remind myself to breathe while reading.” —Ling Ling Huang, author of Natural Beauty

"In sumptuous, lyrical prose, C. Michelle Lindley excavates thorny questions of art, ownership, and agency. At once cerebral and hallucinatory, seductive and unsettling, THE NUDE is a fever dream of a debut." ANTONIA ANGRESS, author of Sirens & Muses 

"The Nude dives headlong into tense questions about art and ownership and the unanswerable enigma of beauty. Elizabeth’s confrontation with the true cost of her museum-world rise, through her sensual and frightening travels in Greece, thrilled me. I could never guess, while reading, what would happen if she acquired her prize. I’ll be thinking about this book for a long time." —ALYSSA SONGSIRIDEJ, author of Little Rabbit 

“A remarkable debut, a slow-burn page-turner that turns a sweltering Greek island into a haunting house of mirrors. C. Michelle Lindley would have made Patricia Highsmith and Graham Greene proud.” —CHRIS BOHJALIAN, New York Times Bestselling Author of Hour of the Witch

"A penetrating and thrilling portrait of ambition, sexual power dynamics, and cultural theft, C. Michelle Lindley's The Nude doesn't let its readers off the hook easily." Shelf Talker

"[A] gripping, delicious debut." —Town & Country

"A little Cusk, a little Tartt...shrewd and sensual." —Electric Literature

"This book is so hot that it swelters." —Debutiful

"Lindley expertly dials up Elizabeth’s paranoia and keeps the reader guessing as her mission’s true purpose is thrown into question. This one’s hard to shake." —Publishers Weekly 
Product Details
ISBN: 9781668032954
ISBN-10: 1668032953
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: July 23rd, 2024
Pages: 272
Language: English