A hilarious first novel about pagan sacrifice, plundered gold, the Tour de France, and the artistic uses of a Barbie
An American family summering in an unexpectedly commercialized and traffic-choked Provence discover a cache of pagan gold and set in motion a comic adventure of mistaken identity and misplaced ambition. Eco-feminist art critic Vivian Hart is badly in need of a kick start to her career, and a change of scenery. Her husband Richard, a stock photographer, yearns to purify his art of the curse of prettiness. Their golden opportunity arrives in the form of a classified ad in the New York Review of Books: "Ideal sabbatical retreat in the south of France" The Harts sublet their Manhattan apartment and decamp for the French countryside without a second thought, only to find on their arrival - as have so many before them - that all that glitters is not gold. Fool's Gold is a savvy farce about pretension and greed, a tongue-in-cheek reply to anyone under the spell of sunny vineyards and colorful peasants, from Van Gogh to Peter Mayle.
Jane S. Smith is the author of Patenting the Sun: Polio and the Salk Vaccine, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. She served as a writer and consultant for the PBS polio documentary "A Paralyzing Fear," winner of the Erik Barnow Prize for Best Historical Film of 1998. She was also author of the companion volume, A Paralyzing Fear, published that same year. She is also the author of Elsie De Wolfe: A Life in the High Style, nominated for a National Book Critics' Circle Award. She lives in Evanston, Illinois, and teaches at Northwestern University. Fool's Gold is her first novel.
This tart and very funny first novel gives the finger to Peter Mayle's obnoxiously smug books about living the good life in Provence. An entertaining satire on artistic pretensions and greed, Fool's Gold is highly recommended for all collections.
"Smith, an award-winning nonfiction writer, brings her passion for history to her first novel, a smart and hilarious send-up of cultural pretension in general and France's carefully fashioned mystique in particular. Scintillatingly funny and wryly observant, Smith orchestrates a delirious comed
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Jane S. Smith is the author of Patenting the Sun: Polio and the Salk Vaccine, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and of Elsie De Wolfe: A Life in the High Style, a National Book Critics Circle finalist. She lives in Evanston, Illinois. Fool's Gold is her first novel.From Kirkus Reviews:
A first novel of high comedy about would-be artists, art theorists, and trend-setters vacationing in Provence, from an author respected for her serious nonfiction (Patenting the Sun, 1990, etc.). Vivian Hart is an eco-feminist art historian, husband Richard a commercial photographer; both possess pretensions far outweighing their talents. In search of inspiration, they have dragged Justin and Lily, their less-than-endearing children, to Provence, an obvious (perhaps too obvious) venue for this kind of satire. The kids, homesick and ignored, happen upon a cache of Celtic artifacts they begin to sell at flea markets through a local dimwit. The odd coincidences of meeting and happenstance thus set in motion can't be explained in a few sentences, nor can the various theories of art that the characters expound ad nauseam, but in Smith's almost-too-meticulously structured novel, the headings pretty much tell all: ``Lost and Found,'' ``Crossroads,'' and ``Convergence.'' Framed by an elaborate structure reminiscent of a Restoration comedy of manners, Smith's modish cynicism is often quite funny, but it eventually grows wearying, particularly when the author begins to play favorites among her characters. Still, everyone ends up happy. The avaricious French landlord makes lots of money; the lonely young post-graduates (too gently depicted to be very interesting) find true love; the head of the Metropolitan Museum finds a new art craze to promote; his Lady Bountiful wife gets a trip to a spa; Vivian and Richard find crass commercial success; and Justin and Lily finally get to go home. With its in-joke quality, the story here will particularly entertain the intellectual and artistic elite Smith pokes fun at, but there are enough acid darts aimed at the rest of us to keep readers laughingor at least smiling ruefully. -- Copyright ©2000, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Book Description Zoland Books, 2000. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P111581950195