This novel portrays the elite and fickle world of New York's art scene. A mother's life is shattered when her painting is rejected by the critics and her son starts to realize that he must break the intense bond he and his mother share.
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In The Art Fair, David Lipsky writes with the all the humor, insight, and pitch-perfect satirical skills that earned him widespread acclaim for his first work, the short story collection Three Thousand Dollars. With the deftness and irony of writers like Michael Chabon and Ethan Canin, he tells the story of Richard Freeley, whose mother is an aspiring painter, and whose conventional life of shimmering summers in the Hamptons and exclusivity on Manhattan's Upper East Side is suddenly and irrevocably shattered when the city's elite and fickle art world first embrace--and then coldly and abruptly reject--his mother's work. Seeing his mother as "a lovely and luminous star player, surrounded by an incompetent supporting cast," and consumed by his need to shield her from the seismic social forces that threaten to grind her back into obscurity, Richard lets his adolescence and young adulthood slop away unnoticed--until he is confronted by the terrifying by inevitable choice of pursuing his own uncertain future or clinging to the security of the past.
In his achingly true-to-life prose, David Lipsky weaves the story of both mothers and sons: the moment of letting go and the fear of free-falling away from those who love us best.From Kirkus Reviews:
Self-described Gen-X writer Lipsky (a story collection, Three Thousand Dollars, 1989, and the memoir Late Bloomers, 1994) helps define a genre pioneered by Harold Brodkey and perfected by contemporaries David Leavitt and Michael Chabon--the tale of the disappointed Jewish prince: an upper-middle-class whiner who feels cheated by life's difficulties and continues to exert a puerile omnipotence over all those around him. Lipsky's Oedipal tale of the contemporary art world, set in the 1970s and '80s, begins in familial dysfunction and plays itself out in obsession and creepiness. Promoted as a roman ... clef, most readers will fail to see the real-life parallels without a scorecard, but that's typical of Lipsky's inflated sense of the entire scene. Richard Freeley, the protective, slightly screwed-up child of a bitter divorce, decides to leave his father and evil shiksa stepmother in California to join his mother, a would-be painter, in Manhattan, where she struggles in a one-bedroom apartment. Nostalgic for ``the boy who'd been enjoying a first- class life,'' Richard suffers with each rejection or snub his mother endures at gallery openings or social events. Dishing on all the petty, competitive, art-world denizens, little Richard eventually worms his way into Brown, but can't give up his role as his mother's manager/protector/escort. Of his first romance, he muses: ``She loved the art world in me. . . . I loved the Westport in her.'' But when he must choose between this ``rich and pretty'' girl and his mother (no easy thing, in his mind), he abandons the WASP goddess to escort his mother through the major event of the title, an art fair in which he displays no little condescension to the unknown artists. The only thing missing from this weird account of art world shenanigans is any sense of the art itself--a pretty significant gap, to be sure. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Book Description Paperback. Book Condition: Very Good. The book has been read, but is in excellent condition. Pages are intact and not marred by notes or highlighting. The spine remains undamaged. Bookseller Inventory # GOR004818244
Book Description Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, 1996. Paperback. Book Condition: Good. All orders are dispatched the following working day from our UK warehouse. Established in 2004, we have over 500,000 books in stock. No quibble refund if not completely satisfied. Bookseller Inventory # mon0002797760
Book Description Bloomsbury, 1996. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: VERY GOOD. 1996. Bloomsbury. Soft cover. Book-VG. Bookseller Inventory # 1812247