Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Book Review: The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro
Author: B.A. Shapiro
Enjoyment Rating: *****
This book would be rated: PG-13 for adult themes, sexual references, and language
There are reliable narrators and unreliable narrators, and then there are narrators like Claire Roth, who you want to believe is reliable and stable, but who does such stupid things sometimes that it's hard to know what the author thinks of her. Claire earns her living by copying the works of master artists so rich people can hang them above their couches. She has an MFA and serious skills, but she also has baggage which has led her to be blackballed by the art scene. When Aiden Markel approaches her and wants her to copy a painting stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum during the 1990s heist, she reluctantly agrees, despite the illegality of the whole situation. Markel assures her that she will be protected.
While the story of what happens during the painting of the forgery, and what happens in its aftermath is compelling in and of itself, the story of what is going on in Claire's head is a lot more interesting. It's ironic that this is a book that talks so much about color, but the narrative is all shades of gray. It's a fascinating read.