THE BLAZING WORLD by Siri Hustvedt

Harriet “Harry” Burden was an obscurely known artist for much of her life, and also a wife, mother, and scholar. She was criticized for her small architectural works that consisted of too much busyness–cluttered with figures and text that didn’t fit into any schema. Her husband, Felix Lord, was an influential, successful art collector, but who couldn’t help his wife for alleged fear of nepotism. After Felix died, Harriet came back with a vengeance, and under three male artist’s pseudonyms (artists that she sought out), she created a combination art (part performance, if you consider the pseudonyms as part of the process) a trilogy which was successful, and even more lauded posthumously. They were shown individually under the names of “The History of Western Art, ” “The Suffocation Rooms,” and “Beneath.” Later, when unmasked (so to speak), they were identified as Maskings. I am reluctant to reduce and categorize Harriet–although labels such as “feminist” may apply.

March 30, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Character Driven, Contemporary, Literary

ALENA by Rachel Pastan

ALENA is a novel about the art world and the people who inhabit it. It is said to be an homage to du Maurier’s Rebecca. However, not having read Rebecca in no way took anything away from my love of this novel. This novel stands on its own and I loved it.

March 6, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Debut Novel, Europe, NE & New York

THE WOMAN UPSTAIRS by Claire Messud

The eponymous title of this penetrating and artful novel refers to third-grade schoolteacher and unfulfilled artist Nora Eldridge, who has lived in the Boston area her whole life. It is also the book’s principal motif, surfacing periodically to describe Nora’s various attributes as an uncharacteristically plain woman, a woman who doesn’t rock any boats or shine like a supernova– one who is always nice, mannerly, and unthreatening to others. Essentially, anonymous and invisible. Nora has previously accepted this about herself, living up to the part with emblematic virtuosity.

February 20, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, NE & New York, Reading Guide

RENATO THE PAINTER by Eugene Mirabelli

Renato the Painter by Eugene Mirabelli is a fictional memoir about a contemporary painter living in the Boston area. The novel starts when Renato is just days old, a foundling, and continues to the present time, when he is in his 70’s. Renato is a man with a fierce pride in his art, unrepentant sexual appetites and strong personal loyalties. He is very dissatisfied with his status in the art world, feeling that the art world has left him behind. He hasn’t had a gallery show in some time and is getting depressed about his prospects. His family life is complicated.

January 19, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: End-of-Life, IPPY, Literary, Theme driven, y Award Winning Author

THE FLAMETHROWERS by Rachel Kushner

There isn’t much plot in this novel, but it is a hell of story/Bildungsroman of a young woman known as just Reno, an art studies graduate in 1977 who dared to race her Moto Valera motorcycle at high-speed velocities to create land art. Land art was a “traceless art” created from leaving an almost invisible line in the road from surging speeds at over 110 mph. “Racing was drawing in time.” Literally and figuratively.

January 1, 2014 · Judi Clark · Comments Closed
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: 2013 Favorites, Contemporary, Facing History, italy, Literary, New York City, Reading Guide, Theme driven, Unique Narrative, y Award Winning Author

ALL IS FORGOTTEN, NOTHING IS LOST by Lan Samantha Chang

This is a beautiful book. If you want to read something that has the same effect as gazing at a vast and perfect ink-wash painting, calming and yet utterly absorbing, reach for this. Like the tiniest haze of seeping ink will be skillful enough to convey a distant village nestling in the hills, or the flight of a crane; there is not a word misplaced in this small and lovely work. Its theme is poetry, and indeed the exquisite style does full justice to the subject.

September 12, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Literary