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An Object of Beauty: A Novel | [Steve Martin]

An Object of Beauty: A Novel

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.
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Audible Editor Reviews

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

Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (730 )
5 star
 (238)
4 star
 (258)
3 star
 (149)
2 star
 (59)
1 star
 (26)
Overall
3.8 (368 )
5 star
 (123)
4 star
 (123)
3 star
 (81)
2 star
 (24)
1 star
 (17)
Story
4.1 (362 )
5 star
 (155)
4 star
 (127)
3 star
 (58)
2 star
 (13)
1 star
 (9)
Performance
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  •  
    Carri Austin, TX, United States 12-22-10
    Carri Austin, TX, United States 12-22-10 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    55
    6
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    1
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    "For the art educated..."

    It may be that one needs to be more educated in the art business to fully appreciate the nuances, but the story and characters are not deeply enough developed for me. However, if you are looking for a quick listen and love Manhattan it holds its own!

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dean R Millson 02-05-15 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Amazed at the turnaround."

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rachel YAKIMA, WA, United States 09-15-13
    Rachel YAKIMA, WA, United States 09-15-13 Member Since 2013

    I am a clay sculptor and an art instructor at a community college. I mostly listen to audiobooks while I work in my home studio.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    117
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    82
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    5
    4
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    Story
    "Ok story"

    This book was ok. I read it because of an interest in art. It's an art book in passing, but I found more to interest an artist in Martin's "Born Standing Up," which concerns the making an refining of an artist's voice.

    This book was, I'm not sure, a novel about a woman who sold stuff, schmoozed and conned people. Art was incidental to the story, romance was almost a focus, there was almost a mystery, there was not quite a chase. I don't know what to say about it. It was ok.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    wobbly WNC USA 07-20-13
    wobbly WNC USA 07-20-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    26
    ratings
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    229
    30
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    "Did not enjoy"

    I wanted to like the book, and was interested in learning about the NY art scene. But although I listened to more than half, finally gave up. I did not care about any of the characters or the art, and found the narrator (who sounds very similar to Martin) to be equally boring.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Busy but Picky 04-17-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    5
    3
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    Story
    "Disappointing"

    There is almost no story. Protagonist is an unpleasant and cliched beautiful social climbing manipulator. As for plot, she does something that's not all that bad, eventually gets found out, and it proves to be no big deal. More than anything else its about art collecting. If you have always wanted to understand and get an inside look into the world in which a painting could sell for hundreds of thousands one year and then several millions the next, then this is the book for you. (spoiler alert - people want things more if they believe other people want it)

    There is a scene early in the story where an outsider to the art world asks the main character to explain how and why the super rich buy and sell art at such ridiculous prices. She explains it and he is mildly interested. That sums up exactly how I felt about this book, mildly interested.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A. Navar BENSENVILLE, IL, US 10-26-12
    A. Navar BENSENVILLE, IL, US 10-26-12 Member Since 2006

    Ravantra

    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    128
    19
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    0
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    Performance
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    "Modern Art world history"
    Where does An Object of Beauty rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I rank it in the upper third of all books I've listened to.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Lacey. Because she was a manipulative scoundrel. Interesting character.


    Have you listened to any of Campbell Scott’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    There was not.


    Any additional comments?

    I enjoy Steve Martins books, he is a talented writer.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elaine FAYETTEVILLE, GA, United States 10-06-12
    Elaine FAYETTEVILLE, GA, United States 10-06-12 Member Since 2011
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting but not engaging"

    If you are expecting an exciting tale about a likable protagonists' triumph in the challenging art world amidst lush descriptions of New York City, this book will probably disappoint you. That is the kind of book I was imagining when I read the publisher's description, but that's not really the kind of book An Object of Beauty turned out to be. It is more of a book about a morally ambiguous, conniving, and somewhat unfeeling woman's various highs and lows throughout a career in the art world. Found in the book are detailed descriptions of various works of art, museums, and art world business dealings which undoubtedly showcase Steve Martin's knowledge, but all of these details are more informational and instructive in nature; they don't quite fit in with the character-study aspect that the novel otherwise has.

    The narration by Campbell Scott is very good and fits the feel of the book very well. The narrator character in the novel, Nick, is a bit flat and is really only a vessel through which to tell Lacey's story. Campbell Scott is the perfect choice, because like Nick, his performance is droll and dry, and very seemingly removed from the action at hand.

    Overall, this book was good and was not a waste of my time, but it did not meet my expectations.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kimberly Santa Rosa Beach, FL, United States 09-26-12
    Kimberly Santa Rosa Beach, FL, United States 09-26-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    348
    8
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    "Read this book if you are fascinated by NYC/Art"

    This book is not for everyone. Do not read this book because you love Steve Martin. He's not in the book. His comedy is not in the book. No character in the book is based on him. The characters are compelling and the story is a fascinating, nicely-paced tribute to NYC folklore, with just enough truth to make it believable. If you are a genuine Art snob, you may find the name dropping and background information tedious -- but if you are a curious person who has either lived in New York or likes (maybe not loves) Art, you will enjoy this book. I put off reading this book for a long time - somewhat deterred by the reviews - but I am sorry I did. I thoroughly enjoyed this read and am continually impressed by the wide range of Steve Martin's talents.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mynna Huntington Beach 07-11-12
    Mynna Huntington Beach 07-11-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    13
    4
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    0
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    "Steve Martin is funny yet a master in storywriting"
    Where does An Object of Beauty rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It seems so personally written as if it really happened to him. I was impressed because it sounded like he did his research in the Art World.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Campbell Scott!!! He can hypnotize me with his voice.


    Which character – as performed by Campbell Scott – was your favorite?

    This was written in
    The third person so in essense, he seemed removed yet poignantly told .


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I listened to the whole book in one sitting but I listened to certain excerpts I wanted repeating.


    Any additional comments?

    I love Campbell Scott! I
    Must have 4-7 narrated by him. I actually sought his
    Narratives for that very reason. I'm a big fan of his beautiful rhetoric and diction.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MARCIA Lake Forest, CA, United States 06-14-12
    MARCIA Lake Forest, CA, United States 06-14-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    80
    ratings
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    72
    34
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    9
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    Story
    "Pretentious, Pointless and Plotless"

    I admire Mr. Martin, I do I do I do! I thought Shopgirl was a well written and enjoyable book, so I added An Object of Beauty to My Next Listen's queue. Bad decision! I groaned and grunted and rolled my eyes through this book. The good news is that I was working on a complex knitting pattern while listening and the book was so mindless, I was easily able to multi-task. I think Mr. Martin tried too hard to be pithy and clever and it fell flat. I think he forgot that a good book contains well-rounded characters that the reader may not like personally, but at least could understand. I think he forgot a good novel is supposed to have a story. I think he forgot a lot. On the good side: well I did learn a bit about art, art professionals and art collectors. And Mr. Scott is an excellent narrator. And best of all, I completed my complex knitting pattern unscathed! So unless you want to listen to a pleasant sounding man with a nice voice read a mindless book to you while you're knitting, I wouldn't recommend this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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