Pictures at an Exhibition
Born to an art dealer and his pianist wife, Max Berenzon is forbidden from entering the family business for reasons he cannot understand. He reluctantly attends me...more
In this historical novel, Houghteling explores Fascism and humanism, unrequited love, and plundered art; it's a historical fact that most of the paintings Max searches for never resurfaced. Critics couldn't help but note that Pictures contains the promises and pitfalls of a first novel. Houghteling evokes 1930s and 1940s Paris, the one-of-a-kind paintings, and the chilling complicity of art dealers in crisp, descriptive language. However, reviewers diverged on a number of points. To some, Rose -...more
This is the story of the fictional Berenzon family. The father, Daniel, is a well-respected French art dealer who s...more
Likes: the embedded history lessons. Between liberation and the end of the war, Paris was more chaotic than I'd realized. Hard to picture battles around the Grand Palais or in the Luxemburg Gardens.
Dislikes: The writing was awkward, heavy. Max'...more
This is a first novel for Hought...more
During World War II, the Germans looted the great museums and the great private collections of Europe. Much of this loot has never been recovered, and, even where it has, much of it has not or cannot be restituted, because of lack of records, resist...more
The story follows Max's unrequitted love for an eccentric and brave young Louvre curator Rose, his relationship with his best friend Bertrand and, most o...more
There is a lack of tension or dynamics, while the story is quite tense and the dynamics historically and emotionally powerful. the writing is clean and smart. Maybe occassionally repetitive.
Fictional account of Parisian-Jewish art dealing family ( and intense relationship with father/son, and son/lover) during WW2,Nazi plundering of art and objects in France,....more
I began reading the book, and I found the beginning pages captured my interest. The story line was one of generations of one family, and mainly deals with issues of...more
With a positive review in Bookmarks and the title of one of my favorite classical music pieces I couldn't resist this book when I saw it at the library. I'm glad I picked it up. I enjoyed the writing style used by the Ms. Houghteling. The tone echoed what I would expect for the period of the novel. It was a pleasant read.
I did find the young Max self-absorbed with a certain lack of concern for those around him. This is not a book that focused on surviving World War II in France, only on specifi...more
There were many things I liked about this book. Houghteling did a great job of selling the setting to me. I could smell the Gauloise cigsand the Parisian quai, and the French countryside.
Ultimately, despite the fascinating subject matter, I decided the characters I wanted to know the most about were only seen through the narrator, Max. I wanted to know more about Rose, t...more
I looked forward to reading Houghteling's story about a young man's obsessive quest to recover his family's treasures and the book is well-researched and well-paced, but I felt it lost its way a bit in the...more
Certainly poignant, I still wanted more information and interaction between the central characters the author created. She sets up these character...more
The main character was not as interesting as her (he's smart but so oblivious about people around him that he is frustrating), so I understand why the book ended when it did, but I think we lost a grea...more