Forgery of Venus
Chaz Wilmot is a painter born outside his time. He possesses a virtuosic command of the techniques of the old masters. He can paint like Leonardo, Goya, Gainsborough artists whose works sell for millions but this style of painting is no longer popular, and he refuses to shape his talent to fit the fashion of the day. So Wilmot makes his living cranking out parodies for ads...more
The Forgery of Venus represents Michael Gruber's fictitious foray into the world of representational art, aesthetics, forgeries, galleries, and art criticism. Meet Chaz Wilmont, an artist and our narrator within a narrator, the vehicle - a lemon - through which Gruber delivers his novel. Chaz speaks to you, the actual narrator, in the first person, through a series of sound files he recorded onto CD for you to listen to; and as with a lot of second-hand vehicles he breaks down often.
Here's a man who never writes the same book twice. The first of his I read was The Witch's Boy, a modern fairy tale.
Then I read Tropic of Night, which has mainly to do with voodoo in Miami (I'm leaving out a lot of important details, but it was excellent).
And then I moved on to The Book of Air and Shadows, which is a "literary thriller," meaning that it's a thriller that centers around books, one of my very favorite genres.
And now The Forgery of Venus, which has to d ...more
For reasons that later become clear (unreliable narrator), Gruber chooses to wrap the story in a frame narrat ...more
Sometimes you just want to read at a fast pace and not have to think too deeply. Especially if like me, you don't watch TV. Don't get me wrong. Michael Gruber can actually write. He falls into a category of thriller author who is a step or more above the David Baldaaci crowd, plus his subject matter tends toward the cultural: Shakespeare and rare books in The Book of Air and Shadows; painting in The Forgery of Venus.
Painter Chaz Wilmot is the tortured genius type. I always enjoy reading about a ...more
Let me say from the outset that Michael Gruber’s prose is quite respectable — in most instances. However, his editing skills leave a lot to be desired. Whether it’s the result of drugs, alcohol, weariness or indifference, I can’ ...more
"...a painter ...who when they asked him what he was painting, used to say, 'Whatever it may turn out'; and if he chanced to paint a cock he would write under it, 'This is a cock,' for fear they might think it was a fox." --Miguel de Cervantes, 'Don Quixote'
"He said it was the best commentary he knew about the kind of art they were showing in New York in the eighties, and he used to drag me to galleries back then and wander through the bright chattering cr ...more
When I was given this book, I expected historical fiction taking place in the 1600s. Instead, what I got was a very interesting tale of an artist in the early 2000's who, under influence of a drug in an experimental study, starts reliving experiences of a painter from the 1600s.
I really enjoyed the story, and the characters were well written. By the end of the book, there were so many twists and turns that I'm really not sure what is the true story, but I ...more
As a librarian who reads new books as the come out of the boxes, I find that stories fall into a fixed number of buckets. The quest, coming-of-age, slice of life, and so on. Rarely does one break new ground, within its genre.
So it was with surprise that I followed Gruber's story of Chaz Wilmot, Jr., an artist who has the talent of an Old Master but mourns his lost integrity of purpose in the need to support his family by commercial work.
Two events combine to give him a break. First, he takes par ...more
Chaz is a potentially wonderful artist if he'd only allow himself to do the paintings he's capable if doing instead of ads and magazine covers. Then because of a "creativity" drug he finds himself temporarily becoming the Spanish painter Diego Velazquez. Is this sci fi? Is this fantasy? Or is Chaz genuinely crazy?
Gruber's writing immediately sucks me in and I can't wait to find out what is going to happen.
What was gr ...more
I really enjoy writers who are chameleons; each book is different and you never know what you're getting. Gruber is such a writer. Oddly, this couples well with another recent read, Landline by Rainbow Rowell. I say that not because the stories or styles are even remotely similar, but because both books deal with time change and main characters on the edge of sanity. I highly recommend both.
Gruber's Forgery of Venus offers a true (I'm assuming, having no experience myself) detailing o ...more
He is generally acknowledged to be the ghostwriter of the popular Robert K. Tane ...more