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The Prize: A Novel by Jill Bialosky
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The Prize: A Novel

by Jill Bialosky

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"Why did he feel like all of it was going to unravel?"

Edward Darby is 42, handsome, controlled, an art dealer and aesthete, with an attractive wife and teenaged daughter at home in Connecticut and a successful gallery in New York. He handles his wildly successful artist Agnes Murray with silken care. He's also a discontented, dangerously fragile man haunted by his Romantics scholar father's brilliance and suicide, his own secret compulsions and suddenly wandering eye.

"Gallery owners, dealers, collectors, and artists live for prizes." There are various kinds of prizes in the novel--the prestigious art prize his romantic interest won many years ago, the Tanning Prize the plot moves toward, the house that revenue from Agnes' art bought and furnished, the unused and costly items he keeps hidden at his office--but volatile, thin-skinned Agnes is his "prized artist," his great discovery, his reputation and his goldmine. Until he tells her the truth about her new work, and his honesty sends all of that into a tailspin.

Compelling study of a decent man in crisis. ( )
  beaujoe | Jan 29, 2016 |
This is a slow, leisurely book with beautiful poetic touches throughout. It’s quite an in-depth look into the art world and how passion for creating art and the business end of selling it often clash. I felt as though I was walking next to these characters and living their days alongside of them as their lives are written so realistically.

The main character, Edward, is a partner in an art gallery. He strives to do all he can to help an artist achieve what they want from their art. He puts his heart and soul into his work, often to the detriment of his marriage. His star artist, Agnes, is often insecure and difficult to deal with and has a true artist’s passionate temperament. Their relationship is a fascinating one and I truly enjoyed the hours spent watching how their roles play out.

Also explored in this book is the marriage of Edward and his wife, Holly. Edward has kept something vitally important from his past from Holly. That secret, along with the betrayal that develops at the art gallery, set Edward on an unexpected path as his world begins to unravel. Just as the writing of his life as an artist’s representative is written realistically and beautifully, so are his marriage’s struggles.

I knew I would love this book when I read that the author is a poet. What more could you ask for then an author with the heart of a poet writing about the passionate and turbulent art world? The book never disappointed. Now that I have a taste of this author’s work, I’ll be looking for her other books, especially her memoir about her sister’s suicide.

This book was given to me by the publisher through Edelweiss in return for an honest review. ( )
  hubblegal | Jul 26, 2015 |
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