Armand's Reviews > The Forgery of Venus

The Forgery of Venus by Michael Gruber
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Sep 18, 08

bookshelves: genre-mod-lit-fic, read-2008, source-library
Recommended for: art lovers, Europe lovers, people who read books to think deep thoughts.
Read in September, 2008, read count: 1

** spoiler alert ** notes in no particular order:

concept: Charles Wilmot Jr. gifted painter with serious personality flaws and gift for self- destruction gets involved in a complicated scenario during which he both begins to go mad, imagining himself to be the famous painter Velasquez and also being hired/ sucked-in by a sophisticated criminal master forger (Werner Krebs).

- The beginning rolls along a little too quickly and we get an abbreviated bio on Wilmot with few scenes and most dialogue being heavily reported. A LOT of background on his family and maybe not all needed.It seemed like the author wanted to do more with the family history that appears here, but he let go maybe from editorial pressure. The sister and mother who are so heavily built up here barely play a role at novel's end.

- The book really finds its stride around page 50 when characters come alive in scenes and via dialogue. Much nicer to watch the story develop instead of getting Wilmot's quick reports.

The book has some wonderful meditations on art and the role it plays and on morality and what it means in the modern age.

Werner Krebs is a great antagonist to Wilmot a sociopathic liar, control freak and scholar of the German condition who happens to share a deep a passion for painting as Charles does.

The scenes in the past of Velasquez are beautifully handled with wonderful moments of historical detail. In particular I remember a discussion about all the gold that the Spanish Empire is bringing back from Central America and yet how poor the Spaniards are. It's nice to see the author, Michael Gruber, does not shirk from describing the excesses of capitalism and the free market in history.

Made me much more interested in the history and theory of painting.

The ending, however, was a little too abrupt for me. I appreciated the final connection between Wilot and Velasquez, but the criminal conspiracy stuff involving mind control etc was unbelievable (in a bad way)

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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Meg (new) - rated it 5 stars

Meg Meltz I forgot about the first part of the book which, as you mentioned, is sort of rushed thru. But I just loved all the forgery details and the creepy (or is he?) German Krebs. And the details of art really sucked me in. Thanks for your review.


Armand Meg wrote: "I forgot about the first part of the book which, as you mentioned, is sort of rushed thru. But I just loved all the forgery details and the creepy (or is he?) German Krebs. And the details of art r..."

Thanks for your note, Meg, and happy reading!


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