A Portrait of My Desire

by MacDonald Harris. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1993.

From the Jacket:

"An exhilarating performance," said The New York Times Book Review of MacDonald Harris' brilliantly entertaining Hemingway's Suitcase. Now Harris returns with another virtuoso sleight of hand--a mysterious, sensual puzzler. Like a painting that gradually reveals its true colors, the novel surprises in subtle yet astonishing ways. No reader will be able to predict which way this story will turn.

Harris sets his tale against the decadent eccentricities of a wealthy California beach community. At the center is Harry, a handsome gallery owner, an epicurean lover of all things beautiful, a man who counted his late wife among his most valuable possessions. When he hires Velda Venn, an unsophisticated yet powerfully sexual housekeeper, the order of his exquisite household is gradually subverted. Like the pull of the ocean waves outside his window, Velda draws Harry from calm self-absorption to erotic obsession. He must possess her--and a spectacular painting that changes everything, a painting that seems the very mirror of his strange, uncontrollable desire.

Critical Acclaim for A Portrait of My Desire:

Return to Harris/Heiney publications page