THE ART FORGER by B.A. Shapiro published by Algonquin Books takes the reader into the odyssey of art forgery. B.A. Shapiro was clever to use a watchful hand as this has all of the elements of an intriguing novel without being academic in the slightest.
The story is about struggling artist Claire Roth. Because she cannot make a living in her chosen field of painting without supplementing her income she becomes a reproduction artist. Claire has made some bad choices in her personal life that slip over to impact her professional life. Her passion is endless for her craft and that truth that continues to lay a path of nails for her to navigate.
Shapiro does some time flipping within the book. Normally I am not a fan of this technique as it interrupts the flow of the story but it was done in an orderly fashion that provided clarity. For me the pace was slow in the first part of the part of the book but it picked up in the second half and I did not want to put it down as it kept me guessing till the end. Yet I would be remiss without sharing that my significant other, who seized this book upon seeing it, agrees with the time flipping comment but strongly disagrees about the pacing.
Of particular interest to both of us was the actual heist from the Isabella Gardner Museum that serves at the backdrop to this story throughout. Shapiro’s is adept in her presentation of fictional letters from Isabella Gardner to her niece. Also, the thought process behind Claire Roth’s investigation of Degas and the fictional work of his she was copying was enthralling.
If you like art or appreciate the works of Degas you will find this fascinating. And if you have ever spent time within the walls of the Isabella Gardner Museum in Boston it is a must read. One of my favorite bookish tweeps Margie at justbooks @justbooks tweeted: “It made me dream of an art history field trip to Boston…” which we both concur with on this end too.
I would like to see more from Claire Roth, why not have her sleuthing the art world. Or she could simply run cases with FBI Agent Lyons. I say we call Dick Wolf cause this could be the next Law & Order franchise.
Special Note: I am part of the amazing She Reads Book Club and have to shout out special thanks for the opportunity to read THE ART FORGER by B.A. Shapiro. Besides having a huge on-line book club community they are always posting interesting bookish news, thoughts and comments all month-long. So plan to visit http://www.shereads.org/ and be sure to follow along on twitter with hash tag #SRblog. Best of all join in, once you do it will be addictive.