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The Muralist
by B. A. Shapiro


Overview - B. A. Shapiro once again pens the art world into vivid, sensual life. Set during World War II and the dawn of Abstract Expressionism, "The Muralist" is an intriguing story masterfully imagined about art, war, family, truth, and freedom. If you liked "The Art Forger, "you're going to love "The Muralist" Lisa Genova, author of "Still Alice" Alizee Benoit, an American painter working for the Works Progress Administration (WPA), vanishes in New York City in 1940 amid personal and political turmoil.  Read more...

 
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More About The Muralist by B. A. Shapiro
 
 
 
Overview
B. A. Shapiro once again pens the art world into vivid, sensual life. Set during World War II and the dawn of Abstract Expressionism, "The Muralist" is an intriguing story masterfully imagined about art, war, family, truth, and freedom. If you liked "The Art Forger, "you're going to love "The Muralist" Lisa Genova, author of "Still Alice" Alizee Benoit, an American painter working for the Works Progress Administration (WPA), vanishes in New York City in 1940 amid personal and political turmoil. No one knows what happened to her. Not her Jewish family living in German-occupied France. Not her artistic patron and political compatriot, Eleanor Roosevelt. Not her close-knit group of friends, including Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, and Lee Krasner. And, some seventy years later, not her great-niece, Danielle Abrams, who while working at an auction house uncovers enigmatic paintings hidden behind recently found works by those now famous Abstract Expressionist artists. Do they hold answers to the questions surrounding her missing aunt? Entwining the lives of both historical and fictional characters, and moving between the past and the present, "The Muralist" plunges readers into the divisiveness of prewar politics and the largely forgotten plight of European refugees refused entrance to the United States. It captures both the inner workings of today s New York art scene and the beginnings of the vibrant and quintessentially American school of Abstract Expressionism. B. A. Shapiro is a master at telling a riveting story while exploring provocative themes. In Alizee and Danielle she has created two unforgettable women, artists both, who compel us to ask, What happens when luminous talent collides with inexorable historical forces? Does great art have the power to change the world? And to what lengths should a person go to thwart evil? B. A. Shapiro s "The Muralist" is an expertly constructed, riveting tale of art, politics, love, and consequences in the Depression Era . . . It rings with originality and authenticity. What a compelling read Jami Attenberg, author of "The Middlesteins" I am a great fan of B. A. Shapiro, especially her new novel "The Muralist." It is a tantalizing mystery, as well as an involving meditation on the meaning of art over time. Scott Turow, author of "Identical" "

From our buyer, Margaret Terwey: Abstract Expressionism is beginning in New York. European refugees are seeking asylum in the US. A brilliant young artist vanishes. Seventy years later, her great-niece is piecing together the truth about her disappearance. Moving between the past and the present, and entwining the lives of historical and fictional characters, The Muralist plunges readers into a gripping mystery.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781616203573
  • ISBN-10: 1616203579
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books
  • Publish Date: November 2015
  • Page Count: 352


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Historical - General
Books > Fiction > Political

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2015-09-21
  • Reviewer: Staff

After the success of The Art Forger, Shapiro returns to the art world, this time focusing on the budding Abstract Expressionist movement, whose major players, Mark Rothko, Lee Krasner, and Jackson Pollack, interact with the fictional Alizée Benoit until her mysterious disappearance in 1940. Danielle Abrams, a cataloguer at Christies in the present who is haunted by her great aunt Alizée, comes across some canvases that may have been painted by her enigmatic relative. The novel goes back and forth in time, and preWorld War II America comes to life in the flashbacks. Alizée and her colleagues are hired by the WPA to paint public works, but she is plagued by Hitlers frightening actions against the Jews in Europe, where members of her family are trying to escape. Passionate about her work and finding new ways to express herself, she is caught up in the horrors overseas and the obstacles put up by America to keep out refugeesexemplified by the evil machinations of Assistant Secretary of State Breckinridge Long. Though compelling, Shapiros latest is bogged down in relaying well-researched material about the pre-WWII politics and developments in the art world, ultimately undermining the power of the fictional story. Additionally, Alizée is a formidable character, but her modern-day counterpart, Danielle, lacks depth, diminishing the dénouement when she finally learns the truth about her great aunt. (Nov.)

 
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