John Ordway is an artist obsessed with his work. In New York City that preoccupation merely aroused the ire of feminist art critics, but now that he and his girlfriend, Jamie, a potter and weaver, have retreated to tiny Delphi, Iowa, he finds himself the object of a more pointed suspicion. Then Jaime leaves him, and one of his local models is attacked. Surrounded by judgment and no longer able to view his work with detachment, he is forced to question the impulses that drive him to it. As events spin out of control, he must answer questions of urgent personal importance: What is the fate of a body in the world? And what does it mean for a man to see a woman truly? Art collides with life, painfully and revealingly, in this evocative first novel, which brings a poet's sensibility to the charged question of women's bodies and men's desires. Subtly conceived and artfully executed, THE MADHOUSE NUDES is part love story, part mystery, a brave exploration of guilt and innocence.
Robert Schultz is the Fishwick Professor of English at Roanoke College in Virginia. His books include a novel, The Madhouse Nudes, and two collections of poetry. He has received a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Award in Fiction, Cornell University's Corson Bishop Poetry Prize, and, from The Virginia Quarterly Review, the Emily Clark Balch Prize for Poetry.