Sunday, March 03, 2013

The Art Forger by B. A. Shapiro



The Art Forger by B. A. Shapiro is the story of a disgraced artist, Claire, with a skill for forgery. Claire is offered a chance to redeem herself. If she forges a work of art, reputable Boston gallery owner Aiden Markel will give her a new chance by holding a showing of her paintings.  


This was one of those cases of, "Already reading it; might as well finish," I'm afraid. I don't know why I pushed my way through The Art Forger.  It is actually the second book I've read that focused on artists and both bored me to the point that I probably should have abandoned them. The details were not that interesting to me. At the heart of The Art Forger is a mystery based on a theft that occurred in real life. I found the mystery -- or, at least, the heroine's conclusions -- a stretch. While I'm not a fan of mysteries, I have to agree with a Goodreads reviewer who said The Art Forger was not predictable and yet not surprising. 

I also found Claire's romantic interests completely baffling. First, she's involved with an emotionally unstable man who uses her and then disappears from her life without looking back but happily takes credit for something she's done (nicely revealed in flashbacks, I thought), then she gets involved with the gallery owner, even after pondering the fact that there's no real basis for a relationship. Say what? 

And, man, that would have to be one prodigiously talented and prolific artist, if the heroine were genuine. I know there are such people in all forms of creative work but it was hard to accept the level of talent of the fictional Claire Roth and even more difficult to buy into her conclusions when it came to the mystery. It all seemed too easy, in other words, although there were certainly plenty of challenges for the heroine. 

On the plus side, I did think the artistic detail in The Art Forger was believable. I know next to nothing about painting and while I found reading about the process rather dull, at the same I was impressed with the author's research. I also enjoyed learning about the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and its history. 


Recommended to mystery readers, people who like reading about Boston and art history lovers , but not a personal favorite.  

It's been several weeks since I finished reading The Art Forger, so I've simply transferred my review from Goodreads to the blog with some minor alterations.  I don't know why I didn't think to do that, before.  I gave The Art Forger a 3/5 rating at Goodreads.

You should read Carrie's review of The Art Forger at Care's Online Book Club .  It's much better than mine.  I've been so short of time, lately, that I think I'm a little more negative with books that aren't a perfect fit, right now.  Anyhow, I appreciated Carrie's reminder of the scene around p. 100 that takes place in The Oak Room in Boston -- pretty much the only familiar location to me and a place that holds pleasant memories as Carrie and I met up with Simon Van Booy for coffee in The Oak Room and had a terrific time.  

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8 comments:

  1. Sorry you didn't love this one - I was surprised at how much I liked it.

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    1. I noticed your enthusiastic comment at Carrie's blog! I wish I'd loved it but I just didn't. It definitely had its moments; it just wasn't ever a book that sucked me in.

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  2. I find I often like books on art and artists. Although I think I would have a hard time with some of the leaps the main characters must make as far as the mystery is concerned. I don't care for repeated bad decisions.

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    1. That really bothered me, I must admit. When a character says there's no real basis for a meaningful relationship but then goes ahead and dives into an affair anyway, you know she's only in it for the sex. Bo-ring. My opinion. :)

      I'm not really a mystery fan so I probably shouldn't even comment on that aspect, but from my point of view, she came to conclusions without necessarily having a decent basis. Someone who really enjoys mysteries might disagree with me on that. At any rate, a lot of people like The Art Forger so if you're interested in books about art and artists, I suggest you give it a go. You can always stop if the book isn't thrilling you, right?

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  3. I started this one but I haven't gotten very far just yet. The dialogue seems just the tiniest bit off. Like, it sounds fake'ish. That will bug until this one grabs me by the hair, if it grabs me by the hair. We shall see.

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    1. I don't know that the dialogue jumped out at me but I think I felt like something was a little off all the way through the book. It just wasn't any one particular thing. Suffice it to say, The Art Forger was not for me. BUt, I love Algonquin and will give anything they publish a go, I confess. I'm not swimming in regret. :)

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  4. My book club loved this way more than I expected! SO I was glad we chose this and we are all going together to the ISG museum in April. Looking forward to that.

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    1. Yeah, I think I'm the odd one out. It just wasn't for me. Great excuse to go to the museum, though!

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