One Woman Show

One Woman Show
A "modern masterwork" (NPR)--remarkably told through museum wall labels--about a 20th-century woman who transforms herself from a precious object into an unforgettable protagonist.

Author Christine Coulson spent twenty-five years writing for the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Her final project was to write wall labels for the museum's new British Galleries. During that time, she dreamt of using The Met's strict label format to describe people as intricate works of art. The result is this "jewel box of a novel" (Kirkus Reviews) that imagines a privileged 20th-century woman as an artifact--an object prized, collected, and critiqued. One Woman Show revolves around the life of Kitty Whitaker as she is defined by her potential for display and moved from collection to collection through multiple marriages. Coulson precisely distills each stage of this sprawling life, every brief snapshot in time a wry reflection on womanhood, ownership, value, and power.

"A moving story of privilege, womanhood, and the sweep of the 20th century told through a single American life" (Rumaan Alam, author of Leave the World Behind), Kitty is an eccentric heroine who disrupts her porcelain life with both major force and minor transgressions. Described with poignancy and humor, Coulson's playful reversal on our interaction with art ultimately questions who really gets to tell our stories.

Publication Date: 
October 17, 2023