"Harriet Scott Chessman has once again invented an utterly beguiling story inspired by art. This time, in her novel inspired by a Degas sketchbook that may have once existed, she has given us a richly evocative and emotionally true portrait of Edgar Degas during his 1872 visit among his Creole cousins in New Orleans. With the clarity and simplicity of a piano sonata, THE LOST SKETCHBOOK OF EDGAR DEGAS is a novel about perception, enduring love, and the complex family legacy of a great artist."
— Katharine Weber, author of The Music Lesson
"It's a brilliant notion, to imagine what might have happened when Edgar Degas visited his New Orleans family in 1872. In this novel, we see the artist through the eyes of his cousin Tell, and while Degas is seemingly at the periphery of her story of quietly contending with blindness and with a scapegrace husband, the connection between Edgar and Tell proves to be a profound and haunting one. Tell's story illuminates her tragic mistake and his: to assume one is meant to shoulder one's burdens in uncomplaining loneliness and so leave unspoken the words that might have meant a chance at happiness. Chessman's lyrical language, her authoritative take on an artist's process, and her deep compassion for her characters make this novel a compelling read."
— Catherine Brady, author of The Mechanics of Falling
"A beautiful meditation on the interplay of art, time, and memory, that is itself a luminous portrait of a woman without vision who is just beginning to see."
— Ann Packer, author of The Children's Crusade and Swim Back to Me
"Few writers would have the courage to tell a story of one of the most famous male visual artists of all time through a blind female narrator. Harriet Scott Chessman does it with simple grace in THE LOST SKETCHBOOK OF EDGAR DEGAS, delivering in Estelle Degas' engaging voice--and in astonishingly vivid detail--1880s New Orleans, the famous artist's lost sketchbook, and the challenges of marriage, family, and love. The result is deeply affecting, and compelling."
— Meg Waite Clayton, New York Times bestselling author of The Race for Paris and The Wednesday Sisters
"In this mesmerizing novel, Harriet Chessman gives us intimate glimpses of a celebrated artist’s eloquently human landscape, saturated with the dense complexities of family life in 19th century New Orleans. This nuanced story of love lost and found, wrapped around the experience of seeing and being seen, is itself a masterful work of art."
— Elizabeth Rosner, author of Electric City and Gravity
"Can a single day reveal a life? It can and it does, in Harriet Scott Chessman’s incandescent new novel. New Orleans in the winter of 1883 is described by Tell, Edgar Degas’s sightless sister-in-law, in language both dazzling and lush. Yet it is the discovery of a sketchbook lost by Edgar during his visit 10 years prior, that illuminates a family’s precarious architecture. An exquisite addition to Chessman’s previous novels."
— Tracy Guzeman, author of The Gravity of Birds
"Harriet Chessman is a writer of exquisite warmth and delicacy, artful and wise. This is a beautiful and haunting novel."
— Elizabeth McKenzie, author of The Portable Veblen
"THE LOST SKETCHBOOK OF EDGAR DEGAS reveals what we see, what we refuse to see, and how beautiful and sad love is either way. Chessman brings us 19th-century New Orleans on one monumental day in which the discovery of a sketchbook leads to the reevaluation of a whole life. This novel is a profound delight from beginning to end."
— Micah Perks, author of What Becomes Us and Pagan Time
“I read THE LOST SKETCHBOOK OF EDGAR DEGAS with deep admiration for Chessman’s empathetic powers. She inhabits this sumptuous world of New Orleans with grace and a kind of heightened sensual alertness, a mystery that unravels level by level as Tell, a fetching character, comes through the oblique sketchbook of her gifted cousin to an awareness of herself, her world, her family – a reality that has become ‘simply history’ in the best way: imaginatively conceived and assimilated. This is a lovely novel that I would recommend to anyone.”
— Jay Parini, author of The Last Station
"There is heartbreak here and very few escape, but there also is enormous love. Chessman has invented a touching story within the page-turning notebook story. Both are beautiful."
— Suzanne Levine, author of Grand Canyon Older Than Thought