For two first-class years, Joan Freeley had it all: the perfect family, the best art dealer in Manhattan, and the admiration of famous friends. Her adoring husband and two handsome sons attended her first gallery show in matching khakis and blue blazers. “An Interesting Talent Makes Its Debut,” declared the New York Times. Then, as if her success were nothing more than a booking error, Joan’s life got downgraded. A brutal divorce led to paintings too bitter to sell and a career stuck firmly in coach.
Unable to see her suffer alone any longer, Joan’s teenage son Richard leaves his father and older brother in Los Angeles and moves in to her one-bedroom apartment in SoHo. At the gallery openings where she used to be a star, Richard discovers just how much his mother’s light has dimmed. She is an artist who is not showing—she might as well be invisible. To acknowledge her is to acknowledge the thin line between success and failure in a world as superficial as it is intoxicating.
Richard immediately devotes himself to returning his mother to her former glory. Everything about him—the clothes he wears, the jokes he makes, the college he attends—is calculated to boost Joan’s reputation. But as the years go by and the galleries keep sending back her slides, Richard has to ask: Who wants Joan Freeley’s resurrection more—him or her? And when will his own life start?