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The Dissemblers

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  44 ratings  ·  28 reviews
The Dissemblers is the story of a woman searching for greatness and beauty, only to find that neither greatness nor beauty are exactly what she thought.

Ivy Wilkes always assumed she would achieve greatness as a painter. She moves to Santa Fe in search of the light and landscape that inspired her idol, Georgia O Keeffe. At first, Ivy embraces life in the artsy desert town,
Hardcover, 199 pages
Published November 23rd 2010 by Permanent Press (NY) (first published October 1st 2010)
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3.98  · 
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 ·  44 ratings  ·  28 reviews

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May 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
Ivy is an art student who works in a museum gift shop. She longs to find more out of life. So she meets Maya and her boyfriend Jake who upstairs. Jake introduces Ivy to his cousin Omar. And Omar notices Ivy's talent for making reproductions of Georgia O'Keefe's paintings. So thus begins Ivy's career as a counterfeit painter. Sprinkle a few torrid affairs and you have the makings of a quick, simple, yet enjoyable read.
Jan 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
New Mexico is a complicated area of the United States – so much so that the state adds the designation USA on its license plates confirming that New Mexico is indeed part of the United States. First time novelist, Eliza Campbell, born and bred in New Mexico, is not murky at all. In The Dissemblers, she renders an accurate portrayal of Santa Fe and an intimate look into the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in concise and sparse prose.

Campbell writes sparingly as her subject commands. Not an extra word or
Aug 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
Ivy Wilkes grew up in Boston, attended art school in Chicago and basically idolized Georgia O'keeffe, so much so that when she graduated art school she moved to Santa Fe New Mexico where Ms. O'keeffe lived and took a job at the Georgia O'keeffe museum. Ivy thought of herself as an above average painter and to practice her painting she would imitate, or copy Georgia's paintings, she didn't see anything wrong with it because they had often done it at school and she was really good at it.
When she
For Books' Sake
Jan 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
The details of Ivy’s day-to-day life are recounted with rich, lyrical language and imagery, and the narrative is intersected with shorter episodes; loving, voluptuous descriptions of Georgia O’Keeffe’s art and anecdotes about Ivy’s first encounters with it, alongside imagined scenes from Georgia’s life contrasted with Ivy’s own experiences.

The almost-overwhelming beauty and drama of the stark desert setting mirrors the way that the characters at times seem to feel lost and insignificant within t
Aug 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anybody interested
Recommended to Forrest by: First Reads
Shelves: first-reads
The Dissemblers by Liz Campbell was a great read. I won an Advanced Reader Copy of the book from Good Reads First Reads and after it arrived in the mail, I started it immediately. It's a great book, covering topics of love, art, and self-fulfillment. The main character Ivy Wilkes narrates in a detailed and art-oriented prose, describing colors, emotions, techniques, giving the reader some of the most amazing imagery of the New Mexico atmosphere. I enjoyed the book because as a non-artist, it was ...more
Mar 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, 2010
Ivy Wilkes has just moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico in hopes of starting her painting career, like her idol Georgia O'Keefe. She moves into a small apartment and begins a day job working at an art museum. Waiting for inspiration she beings to copy works by O'Keefe as artistic exercises. All is quiet until her life becomes tangled with her neighbors Jake, Maya and Jake's cousin Omar. When Maya offers Ivy a chance at selling her paintings as O'Keefe forgeries, Ivy quietly falls into a life she never ...more
Nov 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: press-copy, review
Through lyrical prose and stimulating descriptions, debut novelist Liza Campbell deftly transports the reader to Georgia O’Keefe’s New Mexico. She propels us inside an artist’s mind and twists a complex morality tale. Ivy Wilkes, a recent art school graduate, moves to New Mexico for inspiration. Being in the same setting as her idol; she hopes to unleash her innate talent. She takes a day job at the Georgia O’Keefe museum and soon discovers that her creativity is stifled not flowing as she’d hop ...more
Aug 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
Liza Campbell's first novel, "The Dissemblers" is beautifully written. The story is about Ivy Wilkes who begins her journey into painting at the early age of eleven. She always assumed she would be successful. After attending art school in Chicago focusing on an intensive study of Georgia O'Keeffe's paintings, she moves to Santa Fe and takes a job at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum. Here she begins her "exercises" - copying Georgia's paintings.
Although Ivy does not believe in God, she feels that in
Oct 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
I live in the Northwest, but spent a good portion of my childhood and early twenties in Santa Fe. There were times in reading the book, that I would look up confused at the rain, and weather and landscape, so thoroughly did the Dissemblers pull me into the setting of the book. Campbell manages to catch so many of the little things about Santa Fe and the people who live there and work in jobs that support all the tourists. She tells the frustration of wanting to paint great art, of being surround ...more
Lynne Perednia
Aug 15, 2010 rated it it was ok
Ivy Wilkes is the child of parents actually comfortable in Cheever territory. She heads out west to find her way as a painter, admiring the work of Georgia O'Keefe, then is befriended by a confident woman who suggests they could make a lot of money if she could forge paintings in the O'Keefe style. Her new friend Maya is a musician, as is her boyfriend Jake, a security guard at the O'Keefe museum where Ivy gets a job in the gift shop. Jake's cousin, Omar, chef and sketcher of birds, soon becomes ...more
Jennifer Osterman
Sep 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
I received this book through the LIbraryThing Early Reviewer giveaway.

The Dissemblers is a book about a young artist who is drawn into an art fraud scheme involving the works of Georgia O'Keefe. The story revolves not so much around the fraud itself, but around the characters involved in the deception.

I was pleasantly surprised by the depth of this book. The author deftly paints a picture of the stark landscapes of New Mexico and the loneliness among friends that reflects this desolation. There
Oct 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This was a short book, only about 200 pages, so it makes it that much more impressive how the author can put you in Santa Fe so completely and how she can reveal the inner workings of an artist's mind with so little words. This is the story of an artist struggling to find her own voice, both in her artistic life and her personal life. When her skillful studies of Georgia O'Keefe paintings are discovered by acquaintances who deal art forgeries on the side, she compromises her own art to focus on ...more
Aug 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Wow! this novel is everything it claimed to be and more. Campbell has done a wonderful job of helping us see into the mind of Ivy as she navigates her precarious existence. It is fascinating to be witness to an artist's description of her art, as Ivy shares her inmost soul thru Campbell's breathtakingly rich prose. This compelling tale of one person trying to find her path in the world, without really understanding her impact on others or they on her will strike a chord in many people today, sea ...more
Aug 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
I won an advance copy of The Dissemblers by Liza Campbell on Goodreads First Reads and was happy I did. This is a beautifully written book and impressive that it is the author's first book. Ivy Wilkes graduates art school in Chicago and moves to Santa Fe, starts working in the gift shop of the Georgia O'Keefe museum and starts copying O'Keefe's work to practice her skills. Approached by one of her upstairs neighbors, and friends who offers to sell Ivy's O'Keefe copies on the art black market, Iv ...more
Aug 15, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
When I got this book, the first thing that struck me was the author's picture on the back cover - she isn't smiling and seems vaguely annoyed. I wondered at that as I began her novel but I wasn't too far into it when I realized she was probably attempting to evoke a photograph of Georgia O'Keefe, whose paintings form a backdrop for the protaganist in The Dissemblers. This novel is superficially about a painter who is enticed into producing forgeries of O'Keefe's work. I was swept along by the st ...more
Sep 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
The story of a girl, Ivy Wilkes, who always worshipped Georgia O'Keeffe and her paintings. She is also a good painter, so good that her paintings look just like the famous Georgia O'Keeffe. She moves to Santa Fe where she makes friends with the couple who live above her and the woman persuades her to imitate some of O'Keefee's paintings to sell in New York to a buyer who can get lots of money for them. She sees nothing wrong with this since she doesn't sign them (as O'Keeffe doesn't sign hers) s ...more
Sharon Mensing
Nov 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
At first, I thought I was not going to like this book. It starts with what felt like an extremely self-aware, over the top, tone. I promised myself I'd read the first 50 pages, and by then I was hooked and not noticing the oppression of the language any longer. In fact, the language seemed to describe the beauty of the New Mexico landscape accurately -- perhaps the landscape is a bit over the top. The book is about a sort of inadvertent forgerer of Georgia O'Keefe's work, and how the whole exper ...more
Aug 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received The Dissemblers in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway. The story is interesting enough but more than that was the beautiful writing style. This is the kind of book where I found many pages with sentences or paragraphs that I read multiple times simply because I wanted to experience them again. A favorite from page 18:
"When I knew Jake better, he would tell me that he started playing music only because he wanted applause. And when I knew him better than that, he would tell me that he w
Aug 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
"Once you admit to yourself that you want to be an artist, that you want nothing more in your life than to paint, you've taken a great weight upon your shoulders." These words, spoken by Ivy Wilkes, the protagonist of Liza Campbell's debut novel, prove to be quite prophetic as the burden of Ivy's own artistic desires drives her into the unseemly world of art forgery.

Read the full review here
Julie Isen
Aug 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
I thought this was a good read. I found almost eerie similarities between myself and Ivy, the main character. I am not a painter, but the book really came alive for me since I saw those feelings/ideas we had in common. Things seemed to unravel pretty quickly, but perhaps that's how it really happens.
Nov 26, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
Some very nice writing. I particularly liked the passage where the author describes a napkin floating down in the wind from a second story and an old man picking it up. I did not like Ivy nor her friends, therefore found it difficult to care about what they did or what happened to them. The sense of place was not compelling. I hope to read more of Liza Campbell in the future and enjoy it more.
Nov 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful Liza, simply wonderful. Very powerful work that struck such a chord with me. The exploration of depression and alienation felt so real. The desire to create something meaningful and leave a mark, so honest. Congratulations. I can't wait to read more!
Nov 10, 2010 rated it liked it
I finished this yesterday, on the day before Georgia O'Keeffe's birthday. The Dissemblers is beautifully written, but I'm not sure art forgery is as easily accomplished as this book leads us to believe. I appreciated the concept of the "divided life" that runs throughout the novel.
Well written. Does a good job of evoking Santa Fe and O'Keeffe's presence, along with the tension of artistic hopes, friendships, and starting put.
Aug 30, 2010 marked it as to-read
Thanks, I won this on The Good Reads Contest Page, now I just have to find time in my crazy work schedule to get to it, can't wait!!!
Apr 13, 2011 added it
Shelves: read-in-2011
okay, i am purposefully not putting a review on this because my sister is currently reading it. but as soon as she's done i'll put what i thought.
Pam R.
Aug 15, 2010 marked it as to-read
Thank you. A Goodreads/Firstreads win.
I greatly appreciate the chance to win/read books I might not otherwise know about or add to my reading list.
rated it liked it
Dec 30, 2010
Theodore Esteghamat
rated it it was amazing
Aug 13, 2010
rated it really liked it
Jan 06, 2011
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