Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Good Read

The Art Forger: A Novel

Book Club met at my house this morning. The book I had selected for us to read this month was The Art
Forger by B. A. Shapiro. I had read it several months ago, motivated to read it by a review in the KansaCity newspaper which intrigued me. I was not disappointed when I got the book from my local library.
I decided that the next time my turn rolled around to select a book for the group to read, this would be it.

Just because I like a book does not guarantee that everyone will feel the same. We're a group of 7 women who have known one another for many years, so we have no problem in saying it aloud if we disliked the book. But today, everyone had positive comments. 

The story revolves around Claire Roth who copies paintings for a living. She wears a black mark in the art world when it comes to her own creations, however, due to a scandal in the early days of her art career. She was wrongly accused but never able to prove that she had painted a canvas that someone else took credit for--the someone else being her lover. Fast forward 3 years, and Claire is struggling to make ends meet. Enter a gallery owner who convinces her to forge one of the famed works of Degas. Temptation lies before her and she succombs to it. The rest of the book revolves around an actual art museum robbery that had never been solved, the woman who created the Isabella Stewart Gardiner Art Museum, and others in Claire's social circle as well as her forgery and the process it takes to create a good copy.

The book is well written and filled with fascinating information about the art world. I know that it has made me look at artwork in a museum or gallery with a different perspective and better understanding. It's a good read and we had an excellent discussion stemming from the book. One of our members is an artist and she had some enlightening comments to make. 

I would recommend this book to those who enjoy an absorbing story but also want to learn something. You'll manage both here. Even though the book jumps around in time periods, it's not a distraction or confusing as sometimes happens. 

I found two distinctly different covers for this book. The one above shows one of the paintings and the one below pictures Claire's studio. That is the one I like best. 

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