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David Knowles:
The Third Eye
David Knowles
  The Third Eye  
David Knowles    
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an excerpt



  David Knowles' The Third Eye is driven by a narrator who ranks among literature's most indelible. Knowles spins a taut tale of voyeurism, mysticism and aesthetic pleasure, slowly played out against the backdrop of Gotham City and its many temptations. What distinguishes Mr. Knowles' masterpiece from comparable works are the questions that linger after the final word is read. Despite its mystery, the conclusion neither frustrates nor cheats its reader; instead, it chills and challenges. Perception remains in the eye of the beholder.

The story takes place over one summer in New York, a summer that will redefine the life of Knowles' protagonist. Jefferson is a photographer who each summer, after a series of methodical interviews, sublets his huge SoHo apartment to a new, beautiful young woman. With an alibi that has him photographing wildlife in South America, Jefferson hides out in a second apartment, across the way from his unsuspecting tenants and armed with boarded windows and a camera lens positioned to chronicle his sublettor's stay. He emerges only occasionally, and then in full disguise.

The apartment project includes Henry, a hungry young painter whom Jefferson befriended, bribed, and convinced to participate in his obsession. Using albums' worth of photos of Jefferson's tenants, Henry, despite initial reluctance, eventually becomes a representational painter of his benefactor's subjects. Through well-crafted flashbacks to the boarders of yesteryear, Jefferson describes the experiences that distinguished each woman for him; artfully placed temptations and tantalizing rules as to what not to do within the apartment led each tenant into the very web that Jefferson had created.

Jefferson knows upon first encountering his newest tenant, Maya, that his search for the most intriguing subject of all has ended. He is not only captivated by her beauty and mystery, but obsessed by the bindi she wears on her forehead--the third eye. This obsession turns to frustration as Maya continually eludes the camera. Jefferson's inability to capture this sublime creature on film only skims the surface of the mystery that marks his swan song as an artist-voyeur.

Author, journalist, art aficionado, musician, David Knowles seduces his reader with a work that is haunting, elegant, intriguing, and thoroughly satisfying. Mr. Knowles visited Bold Type recently to give an exclusive reading, and to discuss his debut novel and his future projects.


--Laura Buchwald
 
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