Sunday, August 30, 2009

More Like Art Lectures

I didn't go into The Art Thief by Noah Charney with any sort of great expectation other than it'd be about art. And it certainly was.

The book is about three main works of art (I think? I've already forgotten)--all of which get stolen. It is also a story FULL of characters. So many that I was lost nearly immediately. The book is also full of theft. Several pieces of art are stolen in Europe; people work separately to find the art and at the end, everything pulls together--and actually in a way that rather surprised me. Looking back, I still don't really get how it all worked but whatever.

My first bit of advice, if you're going to read this book, is to not expect to read a "novel." Think of it as more like people lecturing about art. I enjoyed learning more about art but really, this isn't a true story. Characters aren't fleshed out at all and stuff just seems to happen to further along the plot. And the ending is so sudden, with no lead up to it, that I was taken aback and almost didn't want to accept it. In my mind, the title (The Art Thief) was more about art thieves in general and not a specific person. Any ending can be believable and acceptable to the reader--if there is enough preparation. Charney failed on that front.

The reviewers on Amazon hated this book--out of 54 reviews, 26 of them are one star. Reviewers talked about ripping up the book after reading. Many mentioned laughing out loud at parts that weren't even supposed to be funny. While I don't think it was quite a one star read, it was actually pretty bad for a novel. But I did enjoy reading more about art!

Rating: 5/10

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