Lee and Elaine

Ann Rower

In the midst of the dissolution of her 20-year-long relationship and the beginning of a passionate and crazy affair with a much younger female student, a professor becomes obsessed with Lee Krasner and Elaine de Kooning. She’s fascinated by the way these artists were overshadowed by their husbands, Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, and she wants to know whether they were friends. Sequestered in an off-season rental in East Hampton, the narrator begins to spend time in Green River cemetery, where all the abstract expressionist painters are buried. She communes with ghosts in between kinky trysts, interviews with recalcitrant old artists, and bad real estate decisions. She also begins to write a book — surprise surprise, it’s the book you’re reading (we clearly enjoy that sort of thing.) With piercing and hilarious straightforwardness, the narrator turns the process of unearthing art-world gossip and tearing down her own life’s substructure into a searching and original examination of women, art and ambition in the 20th century.



About the Author

Ann Rower


Ann Rower is also the author of the story collection If You’re A Girl and the novel Armed Response. She lives in New York City.

"It didn’t look like a key. It was just a little bent piece of metal and though I tried it on my own wrist a few times and it worked, the thought of being handcuffed to the bedposts in this yellow house scared me, even if the people who owned it edited radical books."

-Ann Rower, Lee and Elaine