The Hopper Painting ‘Office at Night’ Inspires a Serial Online Novel

Two authors inspired by a Hopper painting are writing a serial story and posting new additions online throughout the month of April.

Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Gift of the T.B. Walker Foundation, Gilbert M. Walker Fund

Have you ever found yourself staring at a painting, building in your mind a world of people, events, and emotions captured in that moment?

All this month two authors have been taking that daydreaming tendency to a new new level by serially publishing an online novella inspired by Edward Hopper’s painting “Office at Night.”

The novella, by Kate Bernheimer and Laird Hart, is in conjunction with the exhibition Hopper Drawing: A Painter’s Process organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art and on exhibit at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis through June 20. Bernheimer is a well-known American fairy-tale writer, and Hunt is the editor of the Denver Quarterly.

The novella is being published on the Walker’s website, with new sections appearing each day through the end of the month. The choice of “Office at Night” is smart, because while at first it seems to depict a mundane office scene, it is pregnant with tension. Plus, the writers had at least one clue from the artist, as Hopper told the Walker he was inspired by his rides on the “L” train in New York City at night, and the “glimpses of office interiors that were so fleeting as to leave fresh and vivid impressions on my mind.”

After it is all finished, it will be published in e-book form by Coffee House Press.

In the meantime, watch the story unfold.

Office at Night: A Novella