Monday, February 18, 2008

The Forgery of Venus-Michael Gruber

The Forgery of Venus
Michael Gruber
Morrow, Apr 2008, $$24.95
ISBN: 9780060874483

Chaz Wilmot’s father C.P. Wilmot as he signed his work is a highly regarded illustrator. However, Chaz is much more talented than his dad or any of his contemporaries. Still they sell while he hacks out a living doing commercial crap. His former wife Lotte, owner of an art gallery, is disappointed in Chaz as she recognizes his talent and believes he would sell big time; but he feels obligated to avoid the starving artist syndrome since they need money now for their ailing son.

Chaz accepts work to restore a ceiling in a Venus palazzo. Before the trek overseas, a friend from their Columbia University days gives him a hallucinatory drug. In Italy, he finds the assignment exciting as it calls for a recreation rather than a restoration. With the aftereffect of the drug enabling him to focus while he somehow lives the life of noted seventeenth century artist Diego Velasquez, he becomes the Renaissance master past and present. As Chaz worries about his sanity with each time travel trek eradicating a piece of his memories, the art forger underground offer him wealth that will provide the best medical care in the world for his child in exchange for a few Velasquez masterpieces.

This unique odd thriller is a terrific character study as Chaz is caught between his talent, what sells, his essence and his son’s life. In a Twilight Zone like way, as he becomes more like Velasquez, the protagonist becomes less Chaz; yet if he quits he loses the opportunity for funding his beloved child’s medical needs. THE FORGERY OF VENUS is a strong tale starring a fascinating lead character who must make difficult choices amongst the art of love.

Harriet Klausner

1 comment:

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