Monday, January 31, 2011

Lisa Loves The Marriage Artist

Two mysterious deaths unlock one man's past and another's future in this moving tale of art, love, and history

When the wife of renowned art critic Daniel Lichtmann plunges to her death, she is not alone. Lying next to her is her suspected lover, Benjamin Wind, the very artist Daniel most championed. Tormented by questions about the circumstances of their deaths, Daniel dedicates himself to uncovering the secrets of their relationship and the inspiration behind Wind's dazzling final exhibition.

What Daniel discovers is a web of mysteries leading back to pre-World War II Vienna and the magnificent life of Josef Pick, a forgotten artist who may have been the twentieth century's greatest painter of love. But the most astonishing discovery is what connects these two artists across half a century: a remarkable woman whose response to the tragedy of her generation offers Daniel answers to the questions he never knew to ask.

Ambitious, haunting, and stunningly written, The Marriage Artist tells a universal tale of a family dramatically reshaped by the quest for personal freedom in the face of inherited beliefs, public prejudices, and the unfathomable turns of history. It is at once a provocative snapshot of contemporary marriage, the recovery of a passion that history never recorded, and a fierce reminder of the way we enlist love in our perpetual search for meaning and permanence.

Lisa says:

'The way this story is carefully woven reminds me a bit of Nicole Krauss' The Great House. I love the way Andrew Winer writes and if you haven't read his first book The Color Midnight Made - it's brilliant as well, and a great favorite of mine.

This is the story of Daniel, an art critic, and how he comes to terms with the suicides of his wife and her artist lover, Ben Wind. (The book starts out with their deaths so this isn't a spoiler.) Daniel can't accept their suicides much less the fact that his wife even had a secret life with the artist he had highly promoted.

Daniel starts to investigate, and his investigation takes us to the story of a Jewish family and another artist in Vienna during WWII. Daniel's tenacity leads him to the family of Ben Wind, to their secret and eventually to Vienna. Without giving too much of the story away, I will say that the roots of the story start during that WWII time period and reach to generations beyond with profound consequences. It's a story about loss, love, finding yourself, your heritage, and coming to terms with the past and the present. I believe this would be an ideal book for book clubs. I also think it would be great for both men and women. Andrew did an excellent job of researching the time periods and his view of the way some in the Jewish community tried to adapt their lives to survive was both amazing and heartbreaking. I would put him on an author to watch list and I hope his next book is in the works."

Watch an interview with the author:

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