As the story builds to its dramatic conclusion, circumstances conspire to produce a famous painting--and an immortal painter. Vividly rendered, masterfully written, The Anatomy Lesson is a story of mind and body, death and love--and redemptive power of art.
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Book clubs: Father-son memories
In his latest book, The Death of Santini: The Story of a Father and His Son, Pat Conroy continues to mine his remarkable family history. This fascinating memoir features his parents, Peg and Don Conroy, both of whom appeared in The Great Santini, Conroy’s acclaimed 1976 novel that was adapted into a popular film. A Chicago South-Sider who was raised as a Catholic, Don—a violent, volatile fighter pilot—ruled the family with his capriciousness and black moods. Peg, a Southern belle, was often the target of Don’s abuse. Together, they raised seven children. Over the course of this darkly compelling narrative, the author takes a fresh look at the troubled Conroy clan, remembers his time as a young man at the Citadel and offers insights into his development as a writer. Perhaps most importantly, he comes to terms with his past and forgives his father, for whom the book serves as a memoriam of sorts. All in all, this is classic Conroy—a dramatic tale of complex family connections recounted with the skill, sweep and passion that have made him a reader favorite.
A CANVAS COMES ALIVE
The Anatomy Lesson, the second book by Nina Siegal, is a clever, masterfully constructed historical novel set during Amsterdam’s Golden Age. Inspired by Rembrandt’s “The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp,” Siegal has imagined a fascinating backstory for the famous painting. The medical dissection that Rembrandt captured sets the course for her story, which trails various characters who are connected to the event. Aris the Kid, a thief who will soon hang, will provide the corpse for the dissection, while Flora, his lover, is desperate to save him. Jan Fetchet procures medical cadavers for Dr. Tulp. Rene Descartes, the great scientist and philosopher, is also on hand for the lesson. And then there’s Rembrandt, who has been commissioned to record the event and feels ambivalent about the task at hand. An expert storyteller, Siegal paints a rich picture of an enthralling era, mixing elements of suspense and romance, fact and fiction with a sure hand. Fans of historical fiction will find this multi-faceted novel irresistible.
TOP PICK FOR BOOK CLUBS
A treat for bibliophiles, Gabrielle Zevin’s The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is the tale of a lonely bookstore proprietor whose life takes an unexpected turn. Fikry—a widower who has resorted to drinking alone—owns a bookshop on Alice Island off the coast of Massachusetts. He leads a retiring life until 2-year-old Maya is abandoned at his store. Fikry decides to adopt her, and she brings a much-needed spark to his daily existence. So does Amelia Loman, a spunky rep for Knightley Press who makes regular sales calls at Island Books. Zevin, a gifted novelist with a knack for creating authentic characters, has crafted a heartwarming tale about one man’s re-engagement with life. Each chapter of the novel begins with the title and description of a short story that the book-obsessed Fikry has read, and the literary allusions add a rich extra layer to the narrative. This is a sparkling story about the thrill of second chances.