A few weeks ago I went to Barnes and Noble, where it seemed that half of my current reading list was on the bargain table. After a mini-shopping spree, I then had to buy another bookcase. One of the books that I picked up was Steve Martin’s An Object of Beauty. Being by Steve Martin, I expected the book to be good. He has an incredible work ethic. I also expected it to be funny.
I was right and I was wrong. The book was incredible. It wasn’t a comedy though.
An Object of Beauty follows the story of gallery girl-turned art dealer-turned gallery owner Lacey as she navigates the New York art scene as a young woman from her early twenties to mid thirties. Within the book are references to both famous artists and artists I’ve never heard of, including some pictures of images. Martin’s prose is powerful: I fell so in love with some of the art just from his descriptions that I had to look it up myself.
It’s a powerful and rare thing for the author to draw you so far into the story that you feel like you are the narrator, but Martin does that through the voice of Lacey’s journalist-friend. You become part of Lacey’s circle but never completely understanding her motives nor can you begin to predict her next move. I found myself wanting to talk to other people about the book for the entire three days it took me to read it (yes, it was hard to put down, but life intervened). I’m passing it on to a friend. Check it out yourself and let me know what you think!