Fans of Steve Martin might at first be disappointed when they note that the talented actor, writer, and musician doesn’t narrate his latest work himself. But once they hear Campbell Scott’s voice, their minor distress will be assuaged. Whether by nature or by practice, Scott’s voice is a near replica of Martin’s a baritone with a slightly nasal quality that rarely rises or falls in pitch, but still inexplicably conveys incredible depths of emotion.
An Object of Beauty thoroughly entrenches readers in the subculture of the Manhattan art world by following Lacey Yeager, a young, morally ambiguous art dealer who will do anything to make her mark and make her millions in the fine art business. Narrator Daniel Franks is an aspiring art writer and friend and witness to Lacey’s life and accidental co-conspirator to a misdeed that could ruin both their careers. Yet, like most people in Lacey’s life, Franks is drawn into her web willingly, due to her uncanny ability to beguile men, from wealthy art collectors to FBI agents a skill that aids her speedy ascension in her career.
Thanks to Scott’s pitch-perfect performance, Martin’s presence is felt and not missed throughout the reading. The subtle humor is sharp and the plot is driven forward by the desire to uncover where the boundaries of Lacey’s integrity lie if there are any. Part mystery, part intriguing character study, Martin’s latest creates a dilemma for the listener you don’t like the protagonist, yet you can’t help but want to know more about her and the sometimes seedy world in which she dwells. Colleen Oakley
Lacey Yeager is young, captivating, and ambitious enough to take the New York art world by storm. 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 magnetic charisma and liveliness. Her ascension to the highest tiers of the city parallel the soaring heights - and, at times, the dark lows - of the art world and the country from the late 1990s through today.
©2010 Steve Martin (P)2010 Hachette
"Martin compresses the wild and crazy end of the millennium and finds in this piercing novel a sardonic morality tale." (Publishers Weekly)
"[A] clever, convincingly detailed depiction of NYC’s art scene." (Booklist)
Attorney & Artist
As an artist and museum volunteer acquainted with the New York based art world, I had fun listening to this book. Steve Martin clearly knows art and has been a good sport on the round of interviews introducing his book. I loved that he made mention of the legendary art book dealer and expert, Peter Krauss, a really cool guy. It's just delightful to follow the creative exploits of this author, already high on my list for his comedic, movie and banjo! accomplishments.
Put your books into my ears!!!
I love Steve Martin. His sense of humor is right up my alley. That's why I was so excited when I found out that he also writes novels. I picked up this novel with high expectations of something witty and profound, however I feel disappointed.
This was somehow written beautifully, yet somehow it still fell squarely into the shallow end of the pool. The main character, Lacey, was too perfect. And without trying to be offensive to someone that I have a lot of respect for, she was almost created in the mind of a young, inexperienced guy. She is beautiful, sexy, slutty, sexually enlightened, witty, smart, and successful. She is the perfect woman and has zero flaws, which makes for a boring story.
And interesting story about the mundane is created by the impact of the events on a flawed character. The change that character goes through and the tangible evolution spurred on by the events surrounding them. If the character starts perfect and ends perfect, then you simply have plain events being told you plainly.
After listening to this book I am under the impression that Martin (and the narrator) may have been highly influenced by American Psycho, but too timid to really stretch the boundaries of good and evil.
All in all, the book wasn't bad... it just wasn't great. And I wouldn't find myself suggesting it to many people. There were some parts that were enlightening and the art knowledge is interesting. But it wasn't enough.
One third through this book I almost decided I didn't want to push any further. I didn't like Lacey and I wasn't sure where it was going. So glad I persisted as it is a wonderful story with the perfect mixture of real events and fictional ones. An intriguing commentary on the art world.
I love to read books set in interesting places or historical settings. I especially love mysteries and thrillers.
I have enjoyed several books by Steve Martin. I don't know why that would be surprising as he has a strong talent across so many genres. I enjoy Martin's comedy and banjo playing, too.
This book is more of a very interesting history lesson of the contemporary art scene in NYC between 1990's - to current day. The ups and downs of the art scene are fast and thrilling. However, if you are looking for story with a strong plot, this audio book may be disappointing to you -- I think it is more a morality tale. The story is told in the third person by a character that could be "Martin-like". I understand that Martin has been an art collector in the past and knows this subject very well.
The story revolves around Lacey Yeager and how she started as a lowly, but ambitious, Sotheby's employee to owning her own contemporary art gallery. The story is further enhanced by making "life in NYC" a part of the story. It is easy to dislike Lacey from the very beginning, but the narrator makes up for it as he is very likeable. The narrator gets involved in a mysterious event with Lacey that creates some suspense. In addition, there are lots of interesting characters and events throughout the story.
It is the education of the art world that captivated me about this book. It has only caused me to be more interested in learning more about the art world. Often, the book brought up "What makes art good?" I think that only makes art even more interesting to understand. Bravo to Steve Martin on a job well done.
This is an interesting look at the life, motivations and character of an ambitious young woman. The reader is also treated to an inside look at the workings of Sothebys auction house. My book-club read this Steve Martin gem, everyone enjoyed it but no one liked the the main character . Although she is a beautiful girl on the outside she is less so on the inside. Selfish and ruthless she uses and discards people who care about her.
The audible listener should look up the pieces of art that are referred to in this book. It is fascinating to see the actual works that are described and are an important element.
Steve martin establishes himself with this book as a master of another trade. Beautifully written,and spoken, book about the art world and it's inhabitants where the primary motif seems to be the meaning of beauty itself.
A plot line. It was mainly a description of the art auction business, with underdeveloped characters who weren't sympathetic. Maybe it got better, but I gave up about a quarter of the way through.
Seemed to be mainly two characters, and I could have done without both of them.
This book surprised me and I really loved it. It has a unique voice and I was completely enthralled by the story. Campbell Scott's voice was eerily similar to Steve Martin, so I think he was the perfect choice. I highly recommended this book.
I really liked this book. The characters, dialogue and story rang true and I found it all compelling enough that my mind didn't wander while I was listening. I think some people might find it a little slow or lacking in drama and/or thrills. I enjoyed the quality writing and glimpse inside the business of art.
I loved Lacie Yager.
I love Campbell Sott.
I love Steve Martin.
I have listened to this book several times.
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