Audiobook: The Art Forger

by B. A. Shapiro
read by Xe Sands
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Content: All kinds of swearing, plus some explicit (but not graphic) sex. Definitely deserves to be in the adult fiction section.

Claire Roth is three years out of grad school, and she’s been blacklisted as an artist. It was a bit of a big deal with one of her professors whom she was having an affair with (and who ended up killing himself). But now, when the owner of the most prestigious art gallery in Boston — Aiden Markel of Markel G — comes to her with a Degas — no, the Degas from the 1990 Gardiner heist — asking her to create a forgery of it, she can’t refuse.

Well, she could have. But then we wouldn’t have a story.

This, in many ways, is a story of obsession and compulsion, and because I watch White Collar (which is a quite fantastic show, that) I was already familiar with the idea of how art becomes a compulsion. That said, I still don’t… get it. The depth of obsession, the idea of owning something priceless. It’s just paintings on a wall, right?

That said, I really enjoyed the journey Shapiro took us on. The initial journey of Claire’s painting the forgery, the gradual unfolding of how she became blacklisted, the relationship between her and  Aiden, and the unraveling of all their best-laid plans. Shapiro had a lot of different threads going, and she kept me wondering how they all fit together.

Which does lead me to the end. It all felt too tidy for me. She did manage to wrap everything up with a bit of an idealistic bow (it is fiction after all), and I’m not quite sure I’m satisfied with the way she did that. But that said, getting there was such an intriguing ride, I’m not unhappy I took it.

One note on the audiobook: while Sands was a good narrator — I loved that she did all the voices, though her men all sounded the same — she made Claire often out to be simpering. And that grated on me. Not enough to bail on the book, but I didn’t see Claire as someone who was insecure and simpering. Indecisive and unsure of herself, perhaps. But not simpering.

That’s just a personal problem, though, and only with the audiobook. The book itself was quite fascinating.