The Glass Eye

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UPC: 9781941040775
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Author: Jeannie Vanasco
  • Paperback: 270 pages
  • Publisher: Tin House Books; 1 edition (October 3, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1941040772
  • ISBN-13: 978-1941040775
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches

For fans of Maggie Nelson and Meghan O’Rourke, Jeannie Vanasco emerges as a definitive new voice in this stunning portrait of a daughter's love for her father and her near-unraveling after his death.

The night before her father dies, eighteen-year-old Jeannie Vanasco promises she will write a book for him. But this isn't the book she imagined. The Glass Eye is Jeannie's struggle to honor her father, her larger-than-life hero but also the man who named her after his daughter from a previous marriage, a daughter who died.

After his funeral, Jeannie spends the next decade in escalating mania, in and out of hospitals―increasingly obsessed with the other Jeanne. Obsession turns to investigation as Jeannie plumbs her childhood awareness of her dead half sibling and hunts for clues into the mysterious circumstances of her death. It becomes a puzzle Jeannie feels she must solve to better understand herself and her father.

Jeannie Vanasco pulls us into her unraveling with such intimacy that her insanity becomes palpable, even logical. A brilliant exploration of the human psyche, The Glass Eye deepens our definitions of love, sanity, grief, and recovery. 


“Brilliant . . . Reminiscent of Maggie Nelson's The Argonauts . . . As the pages fly by, we’re right by Vanasco, breathlessly experiencing her grief, mania, revelations, and―ultimately―her relief.”
Entertainment Weekly

“Wildly innovative. ”
New York Magazine

“Hypnotic . . . a haunting exploration of perception, memory, and the complexities of grief. In language that is understated and economical, Vanasco brings to life the father she loved with an almost frightening force . . . Vanasco's characters and settings are vivid, prismatic, and surreal.”
The New York Times Book Review

“Vanasco explores the intricacies of the human psyche with stunning poignancy.”

“This powerful, haunting memoir starts off with one of the more compelling first sentences I’ve read in some time: “The night before he died, I promised my dad I would write a book for him.” [The Glass Eye is] a journey that takes Vanasco into the dark depths of her family history, as well as her own psyche, and it shows in an incredibly intimate way the methods we use to cope with loss, disappointment, and grief, and how we can try and make our way out of the darkness and into a place of recovery.”
NYLON, Best Books of Fall

“Vanasco's candor, curiosity, and commitment to human understanding are not to be missed.”
Booklist, Starred Review

“A deceptively spare life story that sneaks up and surprises you with its sudden fecundity and power.”

“Jeannie Vanasco expertly explores the trinity between grief, psychosis, and creativity in a taut memoir about her beloved father and all that arose in his absence. This book has a blazing lyricism to it, one that’s bound to be a trademark of Vanasco’s limber mind. . . . The Glass Eye―spare, deep, and kaleidoscopic―will make you want to read the first page again after you finish the last.”

“Powerful and ruminative . . . This is an illuminating manual for understanding grief and the strange places it leads.”
Publishers Weekly

“[A]n intense and unforgettable memoir, as fascinating for its artistry as for its subject matter. . . . Lyric, haunted, smart and tortured, this is an obsessive love letter to a dead father as well as a singular work of literature.”
Shelf Awareness

About the Author

Jeannie Vanasco is the author of The Glass Eye: A Memoir. Poets & Writers named it one of the five best literary nonfiction debuts of 2017, Barnes & Noble featured it as a Discover Great New Writers Pick, and the American Booksellers Association selected it for its Indies Introduce and Indie Next programs. Her nonfiction has appeared in the Believer, NewYorker.com, the New York Times, the Times Literary SupplementTin House, and elsewhere, and her essays have twice been named notable selections in Best American Essays. Her poetry honors include an Emerging Poets Fellowship from Poets House and an Amy Award from Poets & Writers. She lives in Baltimore where she is an Assistant Professor of English at Towson University.