Jill on Facebook

The Prize

Praise for The Prize

“Featuring the landmine-strewn territory stretching between passion and audience, The Prize will strike recognizable chords for anyone engaged in the struggle toward originality and authenticity while also trying to ‘succeed’ in the marketplace.”

—Elizabeth Rosner, San Francisco Chronicle

The Prize depicts the machinations of the art world — from aspects of craft to those of commerce—in fascinating detail.”

—Hilma Wolitzer, The East Hampton Star

“This graceful novel finds its gravitational pull in the dissonance between the transcendence of art and the slog of everyday life... Bialosky has several books of poetry to her name, and her writing glows with insight.”

—Susan Kokernot, New York Times Book Review, Editors’ Choice

“There is a Jamesian aspiration in this novel of bitter rivalries and thwarted passions, which hops between New York, Europe and Edward’s home in Connecticut, where he lives with his disengaged wife and daughter. Yet unlike a James novel, this one is totally uninterested in the wider social realities of any of those places, at home or abroad.”

—Joanna Scutts, Washington Post

“Jill Bialosky delivers a powerful exploration of what happens after one decides unquestionably what the meaning of life is.”

—Allison Rodriquez, Zyzzyva

“This sharp-eyed novel of the art world follows the fortunes of a partner in a prestigious New York gallery who struggles with the memory of his brilliant but volatile father, the tempers of a high-maintenance artist and her competitive husband, the distress of a rocky marriage, and the temptation of extramarital adventure. The novel’s characters are caught in predictable midlife crises—‘Do you ever wake up and wonder how you got here?’ one asks—but Bialosky deepens our sense of these troubles with well-chosen details, such as the protagonist’s luxury-goods addiction. The plot is well crafted, carrying the reader to a surprising end.”

The New Yorker

“Bialosky’s writing mirrors these qualities that determine “great work”; she captures in everyday moments the fears that consume us and have the power to either drive us forward or bring us to the brink of collapse… And for someone whose life is built around finding the significance in the smallest of moments—moments which Bialosky captures with such powerful insight—there is much at stake for him to lose. In the end, after betrayals and loss and sadness, Bialosky asks her hero to consider what he holds most dear. Like Edward feels upon discovering a transcendent piece of art, this book finds that little opening at the edge of your soul and seeps in.”

—Kirkus, Starred Review

“Bialosky… articulates with grace the crass and the sublime as she explores questions of character, art, obsession, ambition, lies, loneliness, and love. This fluently sophisticated and exquisitely pleasurable novel is radiant with precise and sensuous descriptions and intricately laced with discerning and affecting insights into the passion and business of art and the meaning and struggles of marriage.”

—Booklist, Starred Review

“[A] luminous behind-the-scenes view of the art world… One expects a poet’s prose to soar in fiction, and [Bialosky] does not disappoint, crafting her own work of art with her evocative, fresh descriptions and her careful observations of how artists transform inspiration into their work.”

—Publishers Weekly

The Prize is a subtle, incisive, and erotically charged exploration of the dark crossroad where art, money, and obsession converge. Jill Bialosky has written a true and dangerous novel.”

—John Banville, author of The Sea

“A compulsively readable novel about art: both that on the canvas, and that of finding one’s home in another.”

—Elizabeth Berg, author of The Dream Lover

“Jill Bialosky brings a poet’s ear for language to this moving, knowing meditation on marriage and art and the emotional costs of a life spent in pursuit of even the worthiest ideals.”

—Jonathan Dee, author of The Privileges, Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize

“In The Prize, Jill Bialosky has written an erotically charged story about the contemporary art world suggestive of a Roman a clef, but far more sponsored by a sublime and sympathetic narrative imagination and boldness. The character of Agnes — a brilliant artist — is a deliciously maddening figure who makes Machiavellian strategies of ambition seem like child’s play. Impressively, many of Bialosky’s people can't seem to stop apprenticing themselves to their worst instincts (to quote Chekhov) and how they reconfigure their lives to fit their delusions of grandeur makes for hypnotic betrayals. The Prize is vividly modern, and in the tensions offered between art and life, timeless. Yet finally, Bialosky’s novel is a kind of old-fashioned love story, with an ending whose bittersweetness is powerfully earned.”

—Howard Norman, author of The Bird Artist

“Jill Bialosky has written a haunting novel about the gulf between art and the art world—the place where deals are made and souls are lost — but more, about the cost of our choices, our failures, and our silences. Wintry, subtle, unnerving and mysterious in its impact, this book drew me in deeply and really got to me.”

—Joan Wickersham, author of The News from Spain and The Suicide Index, a Finalist for the National Book Award

“Renowned poet Jill Bialosky has once again turned her penetrating eye to fiction and lucky for us, because here she delves deeply into nothing less then the complexities of art and desire, and their often dangerous interaction with commerce. At its heart, her wonderful new work, The Prize, is tense, romantic, and timely; a novel about passion and betrayal.”

—Helen Schulman, author of This Beautiful Life