Friday, January 8, 2010

The Brutal Art by Jesse Kellerman

The Brutal Art by Jesse Kellerman.

Borrowed from my local public library.

**** "Compelling."











From the back cover: "In a New York slum, an elderly tenant has mysteriously disappeared, leaving behind a huge collection of disturbin but brilliant paintings. For forty years, he came and went in solitude, his genius undiscovered. No one knows anything much about him. For art dealer Ethan Muller, this is the discovery of a lifetime. He displays the pictures in his gallery and watches as they rocket up in value. But suddenly the police want to talk to him. It seems that the missing artist had a sinister past - and the drawings in Ethan's gallery start to look less like art and more like evidence..."

The son of best-selling authors Jonathan and Faye Kellerman, Jesse has some big shoes to fill. And, as he writes in the same general crime genre as they do, I imagine there are many comparisons floating about. For me, Jesse is better than his parents.

This book is told both in the recent past, as a series of flashbacks, and as a flashforward to the present. Kellerman weaves the various flashbacks cleverly into the story, so that the reader is aware of the connection between the past and the narrator, but is still surprised as revelations occur. The character of Ethan, the narrator, is flawed but sympathetic, and other supporting characters are well drawn and believable.

I found this a real page-turner, I was eager to find out both what would happen next and more about the characters. Pleasing, for me, was the fact that not everything is neatly wrapped up. In life, even happy endings have some sadness, and I enjoy books that do not shy away from this reality.

I also found it interesting to learn a little more about the world of art dealers. I enjoy looking at art, and had never really thought before about the role that dealers play in defining what art is, the value of art, and their impact on artistic movements.

Highly recommended.

4 comments:

vvb32 reads said...

what's interesting about this one is the art dealer world you mention. thanks for the review.

Fiona said...

Hi Velvet :) I still feel very inexperienced writing reviews and am always trying to improve them. I'm trying to make sure I add something about my personal experience of the books I read.

Shy said...

"Pleasing, for me, was the fact that not everything is neatly wrapped up. In life, even happy endings have some sadness, and I enjoy books that do not shy away from this reality."

I really love this part of your review. I think that sometimes, I tend to focus on books that have happy ending or at least, neatly tied up in the end - happy one or not - forgetting that in real life, such thing hardly ever happen.

Thank you for writing this up =)

Fiona said...

Hi Shy, nice to meet you. I am following your blog now :)