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)
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.
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.
Campbell Scott!!! He can hypnotize me with his voice.
This was written in
The third person so in essense, he seemed removed yet poignantly told .
I listened to the whole book in one sitting but I listened to certain excerpts I wanted repeating.
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.
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.
Enjoyed the storyline and the characters, loved the insight into a world I would never have access to. Is there anything that Steve Martin can't do?
If the plot were more foucused on telling a story than explaining to reader the details of the art collectors world...
knowing that steve martin is a huge art collector, it felt as if he was showing off his knowledge about this world and less concentrating on the "human" aspects of the story. i read Shopgirl and enjoyed it very much. So I expected more of the same.
yes I would
A sophisticated and dryly funny look at the cut-throat world of ART in Manhattan. A cautionary tale about acquiring it, selling it, and using it to move up the ladder of success. The narration by Campbell Scott is first rate, and the story, by Steve Martin, is superb.
I love Steve Martin's comedy, and I moderately enjoyed the novel Shopgirl. He's a talented writer when it comes to the actual prose, but I found this novel difficult to get into or even care about.
First of all, the main character (Lacey Yeager) is hardly likeable and terribly hard to identify with. I just didn't care about her. In fact, I just didn't care period. She's a self-serving narcissist who really doesn't have many redeeming qualities other than the fact that nearly every heterosexual man she meets wants to sleep with her. (She is not, by the way, a cardboard character; just seriously dull.)
The best thing about this book is that it delves deeply into the pretentiousness of the art world of New York City. If that's what you're looking for, the book is for you. But if you're looking for a novel with captivating characters that you might care deeply about, I wouldn't recommend it.
On the plus side, Campbell Scott does a wonderful job, deadpanning his entire way through. (In some ways, I realize that Scott and Martin have similar-sounding voices.)
I really enjoyed the reader. I was just a little disappointed at first, Steve Martin did not read it himself. But his voice came through loudly with his story line, one liners and little hidden jokes.
Love Martin's vocabulary and descriptive sense but this story bogged down and was a touch boring.
A good book, the reader really captures Steve Martin's "voice."
I think there is a lot of Somerset Maughan in this book, and that's a good thing in my mind.
Spoiler Alert, don't read anymore if you don't want a spoiler.
I expect it would have been tempting to murder this girl, and I expect that Steve Martin felt some pressure to kill her off. He resisted, I think correctly.
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