Sunday, December 5, 2010

Review: The Dissemblers


This novel tells the story of an aspiring artist who seeks inspiration in Georgia O'Keefe's New Mexico. Ivy Wilkes moves herself to New Mexico following art school graduation. Ivy has always been inspired by O'Keefe, and she goes to the source of her muse.

It becomes evident over the course of the book that Ivy is actually rather obsessed with O'Keefe, modeling all aspects of her life after the artist. Ivy gets a job at the O'Keefe museum to bring her closer to the masterpieces.

But it is art forgery that is truly at the heart of this book. Ivy's new friends invite her to join an art forgery ring, painting reproductions of O'Keefe's work. Painting the forgeries, balancing a love triangle, and avoiding detection all take their toll on Ivy, and being an artist merely searching for inspiration starts to look much more desirable.

Art forgery is one of those topics that I find inherently interesting, so I dove into this book with excitement. The question that dominates the second half of the book is, unsurprisingly, will Ivy get caught? Dalby's treatment of Ivy's relationship to art is interesting. Ivy's relationships with other people were less interesting, and less believable. Ivy seems to be one of those people who is completely incapable of doing anything that's in her own best interest. And that can sometimes be maddening; it was for me. That said, Dalby offers a sufficiently suspenseful tale of art forgery, well worth reading for the New Mexico setting and the discussion of artwork.

Liza Campbell, The Dissemblers (Permanent, 2010) ISBN: 1579622054

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