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Preview — Pictures at an Exhibition by Sara Houghteling
Pictures at an Exhibition
Max Berenzon’s father is the most successful art dealer in Paris, owner of the Berenzon Gallery, home to both Picasso and Matisse. To Max’s great surprise, his father forbids him from entering the family business, choosing instead to hire a be ...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
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
Note to self: stop doing this. You'll only spend the entire time you're reading the book wishing a better writer had thought of the plot idea.
There was a lot of confusing, convoluted writing in this book, and it was as if the author was having a hard time wrestling the book into submission. It see ...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
I am almost tempted to reread it at a later date to see if my disappointment once forgotten is n ...more
This is a first novel for Hought ...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
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
Certainly poignant, I still wanted more information and interaction between the central characters the author created. She sets up these character ...more
I mostly enjoyed the unexpl ...more
But in the end, it didn't quite gel. The pieces didn't hold together. As others have noted, the main character, Max is nowhere near as interesting as many of the other characters in the book. Is lack of understanding is grating. Grating because this isn't one of those books t ...more
For me, a strangely disjointed narrative of a dullness unsurpassed. I thought I could finish it but, after setting it down for a week, it was even less palatable.
I didn't hate this so not ...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
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
Photo cour ...more