Sunday, January 16, 2011
An Object of Beauty: A Novel by Steve Martin
"I am tired, so very tired of thinking about Lacey Yeager, yet I worry that unless I write her story down, and see it bound and tidy on my bookshelf, I will be unable to ever write about anything else"
So writes Daniel Franks, the narrator of a story about the woman he's been unable to let go of for years...Lacey Yeager is young, captivating, and ambitious enough to take on the notoriously demanding art world of New York City. Groomed at Sotheby's and hungry to keep climbing the social and career ladders put before her, Lacey charms men and women, old and young, rich and even richer with her charisma and liveliness. Her career sends her zipping all over Manhattan, the east coast, and even St. Petersburg, and her self-manufactured allure makes the reader wonder if it is not she who is the object of beauty. Her ascension to the highest tiers of New York parallels the soaring heights - and, at times, the darkest lows - of the art world and the country from the late 1990s through today.
I loved this book! It was intelligent, informative, interesting and extremely well written. Truthfully, it made me aware of what a talented author Martin is. The ease and flow of the story, coupled with the fascinating characters who are real and flawed, made for quite a captivating read. I was spellbound from the first page. What Martin has done is create a book that not only tells us the story of the rise and fall of Lacey Yeager, but also teaches us about a world filled with hiearchy, duplicity and money. He also includes pictures of the very paintings being held at auction or adorning the walls of someone's NYC apartment - which I loved looking at! And, he teaches us how to discern an authentic from a knock-off, the reasons why an artist suddenly becomes so popular and how much money it takes to run a gallery. In fact, you are left wondering why you hadn't ever wanted to learn about the NYC art scene before (or at least I was).
Steve Martin has written a brilliant book about a woman determined to succeed in a world that runs on riches, art and reputation; a woman who is an object of beauty and so much more. Read it!