books and reading

The Art Forger

This book was recommended to me by a friend, and when it went on sale for the Kindle, I went ahead and bought it. For the 2018 book challenge, I needed a book involving a heist, and this one is kinda sorta along those lines, so I counted it anyway. And I’m the first to admit that I have a very limited knowledge of art. I am not an artist. I can’t draw a stick figure. I appreciate art, and I know what Impressionism is and who Degas is, so I guess that was enough, because I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

The premise is that Claire (sorry if I spelled it wrong…I listened to this one) Roth is an expert forger. She does it legally through a reproduction website, but she is approached by an art dealer friend to copy an original Degas. The problem is that this Degas was stolen from a museum twenty some years ago and no one has seen it since. Claire can’t resist, so she begins her reproduction, however, as she looks closer at the painting, she begins to realize this might not actually be a Degas. Down the rabbit hole she goes, digging for the truth.

The story is told from Claire’s perspective and you really learn a lot about how to forge a painting. Honestly, I have no idea if it is all true, but it certainly sounds plausible. And while the Degas in question throughout the novel is fictitious, the process of recreating it was still fascinating. The story shifts from present day, to three years ago, to letters from an art collector from the 1800s. And although the source of the letters is never revealed so you never really know why they are in the book, they do let the reader into a part of the story that would never have been uncovered.

Don’t be intimidated by this book if you aren’t an art person. You really don’t have to know much about it to still enjoy the book. I was able to follow along just fine. The story is just as much of a mystery as it is about art, and well worth the time to read it.

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