On March 18, 1990, thirteen works of art, today worth over $500 million, were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. It remains the largest unsolved art heist in history, and Claire Roth, a struggling young artist, is about to discover that there's more to this crime than meets the eye.
Making a living reproducing famous artworks for a popular online retailer and desperate to improve her situation, Claire is lured into a Faustian bargain with Aiden Markel, a powerful gallery owner. She agrees to forge a painting - a Degas masterpiece stolen from the Gardner Museum - in exchange for a one-woman show in his renowned gallery. But when that very same long-missing Degas painting is delivered to Claire's studio, she begins to suspect that it may itself be a forgery.
Her desperate search for the truth leads Claire into a labyrinth of deceit where secrets hidden since the late 19th century may be the only evidence that can now save her life.
©2012 Barbara Shapiro (P)2012 HighBridge Company
"A clever, twisty novel about art, authenticity, love, and betrayal. B. A. Shapiro knows about Degas, and she knows about art theft and forgery, and she also knows how to tell a gripping story." (Tom Perrotta)
I was expecting a book about an art forger but the storyline was different from your typical thief book! It exceeded my expectations. It operated from a completely different but delightful angle. It was a little slow at first but then I could not put it down until I finished it!
Listening to this book will awaken emotional feelings that you long ago forgot. The story is a narrative. The words and the delivery of the words make you jealous that someone could love a painting so much. Do you want to experience love again? Listen and feel.
I enjoyed this book and was immediately engaged by the narrator. I felt the voice she used invited sympathy with the main character, Claire. The writing drew me in to the story and I found it an easy listen.
Interesting story about the art world and art forgery. The plot is cleverly built around a real historical figure (Isabella Stuart Gardner) and the unsolved theft in 1990 of a number of paintings from the museum in Boston that bears her name.
I would have given it 5 stars except for the fact that a number of phrases, sayings and other things are repeated in more than one place in the book. It's kind of like the author forgot that this had already been said and no editor picked it up. I'd say this happened about five times, which I found disconcerting.
Otherwise, a great read that grabbed my interest from the start!
The Art Forger is a creative, well paced mystery. I found myself listening at every free moment to hear the next turn in the story. The listener is kept on their toes with twists and turns that build anticipation.
The narration is great. The reader gives a compelling performance, riding the wave of emotion the story embodies. Character narration is differentiated nicely with subtle changes in tone and cadence rather than oddly performed caricatured voices as in some audio books.
Overall this is a great book for the mystery lover. I'd recommend it to friends...
Very well researched both in terms of art history and of the technique/skill of oil painting. I have always been a huge fan of Edgar Degas. In fact, seeing his show at the metropolitan museum of art in the late 80's was for me a life changing for a girl of 15 which is how old I was at the time. Besides being a terrific book with a great plot, the skill in which the writer describes Degas's work, and Claire's experience in re-producing the masters painting, is not only well researched but very moving, especially of you understand painting.
Claire, of course! A true heroine, with enough humility and honesty about herself and the art world to understand that beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder, and that in the world of high end fine art, the world only sees what it wants to see.
No. Sometimes I felt the reader sounded a bit too "weepy" or too emotional. Overall, she is a very good performer.
Isabella Stewart Gardner. Of course!!!M oh to know what she knew...
If you love intelligent thrillers & mysteries AND art, this is your book!
Learning about the "art" of art forgery and the commercial side of the art world was interesting, but the story was based on an "idiot plot" : no reasonable thinking person would have gotten him/herself in such a situation! I know that art forgers do exist and have their reasons, but I do not find them to be sympathetic. I continued listening to learn how the author would tie up the loose ends and vindicate her protagonist, which I knew she would do. The main character seemed likeable, but for a supposedly smart and strong-willed woman, was easily manipulated by men and lied too easily for her own good. By the end of the novel, I didn't understand how she had any friends or supporters. The story was so implausible, I ended up feeling cheated of my 10 hours.
Learning about art forgery, and the mystery of the fake Degas.
Men were irritating. She did well with the main (female) character's voice, but the men all were depicted in a deep-throated husky voice.
Yes and no. I could have spent more time in the world of the art world, less in the head of the main character, who was meant to be a heroine, but was really an unsympathetic character to anyone who cares about art and authenticity.
Dialogue was thin. Supposedly smart creative people should be much wittier.
I really enjoyed this book. It took me awhile to figure out the mystery and it had a satisfying conclusion. It did drag a bit in the middle and I felt like some things were just filler. The narrator was excellent. A very enjoyable experience!
Enjoying one good listen after the next!
This is a truly GOOD story. It meshed the intricate details of art, art history, crime and criminal history in a magnificently interesting manner. It reads as a plausible, ego-driven series of events in the familiar city of Boston. There was nothing I didn't like about this book, although I can understand why some complain about the narrator. Her ability to inflect male voices is somewhat poor. Nevertheless, I had no complaints and throughly enjoyed the narration and the story; which by the way, had a plausible ending as well. Very satisfying listen!
A piece of art lost to history is sought by an artist hired to copy it.
A very different kind of mystery from my usual. Three different timelines reveal their stories bit by bit, keeping me on the hook especially about the goings-on at the end of the 19th century storyline, though the author predominantly focused the story on modern day plot - the stolen Degas and the painter who spotted it as a forgery, sparking her own investigation into its history. An appreciation of art would be a plus (I happen to love Degas), but not necessary, especially if you're just as interested in the theft and mystery itself. Kept me on edge as developments grew in suspense and gravity. Cynical commentary on the art world and media. The tragedy of the main character's past haunts much of her present actions, which was a little overly included, even harped on; I think you could have deleted a few instances without losing the message of its significance, but it did impact her whole outlook and course of action so not irrelevant. She also seemed a bit too naive and trusting going into this endeavor for having been through what she has (but maybe its more illustrative of my reading habits and being on the lookout for deceivers and solving the whodunit before the end, rather than about her...) After all, I figured it out the same moment her own thoughts lead her to her final conclusion. It was a fascinating story of a painting.
The narrator was wonderful at the tones of the women, but seemed to have only one, maybe two distinct male voices, which confused me once or twice.
Overall a good read, couldn't put it down near the end- the moment i had the chance i listened to the last 3 hours straight through. Makes me want to go view some impressionist masterpieces.
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