Laura de Leon's Reviews > An Object of Beauty

An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin
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's review
Nov 02, 2014

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction, review-copy, bea10, blogged, art
Read from November 15 to December 13, 2010

I picked up an advance copy of An Object of Beauty. I was enjoying it, but eventually put it down until I could buy a copy to read. Why? Because I felt I was missing out without the pictures.

This book is firmly rooted in the art world, and includes photos of some of the artwork mentioned. I don't know enough about art to have more than the vaguest idea of anything but the biggest works. Seeing some of the art mentioned wasn't necessary to follow the plot, but it did help to set the stage for the events in the book.

Lacey is a very interesting character. She's young, beautiful, smart, and looking to make her mark on the art world. She's almost amoral-- she means no one harm, and genuinely likes many of the people around her, but if it doesn't obviously hurt someone else, she'll do what's necessary to further her own cause. I won't say that she's a sympathetic character, but she's an interesting one, and she never goes far enough across the line to turn me off.

Although Lacy has a college background in art, her real education comes while working at an auction house, and later at a gallery. The book is much more about the art world than the art it revolves around, and most of the talk of art is more about its relation to the people that surround it. I found it interesting to learn about both.

I found the structure of An Object of Beauty interesting. The story is narrated by Daniel, but it isn't his story. Lacey is a good friend of his, but it isn't always clear how he knows so much about her (although he does say at the beginning of the book that "imagination sometimes has to stand in for experience"). It's occasionally distracting when Daniel does actually enter into the events of the book, but most of the time, it works.

An Object of Beauty isn't like any other book I've read. It's an interesting introduction to a world I wasn't familiar with, and has an intriguing main character. These add up to an interesting read.

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Reading Progress

11/22/2010 "I was reading an ARC, but decided I'm going to wait until I buy a copy-- the book is wonderful so far, but I feel like I'm missing out on all the artwork."

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