Ally Armistead's Reviews > The Great Man

The Great Man by Kate Christensen
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's review
Nov 15, 2011

really liked it
Read from November 15 to 19, 2011

A delightful read, "The Great Man" is full of snark and wit and moments of unexpected tenderness. Set in modern-day(ish), "Man" revolves around the lives of four women who are tangled in the life of a great, painter named Oscar. Maxine is the less-famous though amazingly brilliant sister; Abigail is the widow who endured a marriage of infidelity; Teddy is the beautiful mistress; and Lila is Teddy's dear friend who, from afar, worshiped Oscar and his work. When Oscar dies, the four women are approached by two biographers, and long-held secrets about Oscar and each other are let out of their dusty old closets to air and make themselves known.

The heart of the novel explores the unraveling of "mythic" celebrity--how reality is never what it seems. As all the secrets are revealed, the four women Oscar has left behind find a kind of solace in the truth, and (surprisingly) in each other.

Written with the saucy, biting cadence of gossip, "The Great Man" is a charming and smart read. I highly recommend for a "lighter" read with serious literary punch.

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