Pictures at an Exhibition
Born to an art dealer and his pianist wife, Max Berenzon is forbidden from entering the family business for reasons he cannot understand. He reluctantly attends me ...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
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
I am almost tempted to reread it at a later date to see if my disappointment once forgotten is ...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
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
But the story part...well, perhaps I have WWII burnout in fiction. Each book I read reveals worse and worse events. For the main reveal here of the big secret--huh? That's it? ((view spoiler)[The main family comes through the occupation in France fine and only one character goes missing. The author glosses over that part. Of course they lose all their a ...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
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
Certainly poignant, I still wanted more information and interaction between the central characters the author created. She sets up these character ...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
now we have our own looted and lost art and books for our usa conscious. what REALLY is ...more
I really enjoyed this book, and my only complaint was that it wasn't longer. Set in Paris on the heels of World War II, the story provides unique insights on what the city was like at the time when concentration camp horrors were just coming to light, and those who had gone underground for years were reemerging. Who had survived and who hadn't was still unknown. Owners were returning to the homes they fled only to find them occupied, abandoned after serving as Nazi facilit ...more
As both an art lover and a history-jock with a special interest in Jewish subjects and World War 2, I thought Houghteling told her story of French art dealers both before and after the war very well. But, this was a story of a family of art dealers as much as a story of the art they were selling. And the family, as most fami ...more
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Photo c ...more