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book review: "The Muralist"...

Tuesday, June 14, 2016
...by B.J. Shapiro. I did not realize until bringing it home from the library that I had read another of her books, also about art. The first one I read was "The Art Forger", about a young woman who was asked to duplicate a piece of art, then caught in a web in intrigue. As well as done wrong by a man she loved and thought she could trust.

The Muralist is fiction but based on a great deal of research from the era of the WPA and FPA during the FDR administration. The leading character is the great niece of a mystery woman. Alizee is the name of both women in the book, with the niece attempting to track down aunt who 'disappeared' during the WWII era when so many Jews were killed by Nazis.

If you are knowledgeable about art history, you would recognize a number names that appear in the story, people who were on the cutting edge of expressionistic abstract art in America in the '40's. Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner and others who were employed by the works projects invented and supported by the Roosevelts, painting murals that were hung in numerous public buildings across the nation. Our leading character was a member of the group, got involved with a group that attempted to assisinate a public figure and had to disappear.The story bounces between the forties time period, and the current day with the niece searching for clues that will provide more information about the unexplained disappearance of her aunt. References to Jews being herded into camps and jailed, put in box cars and vanishing.

Slow starting off, but an interesting story. Interesting how the author pulled a number of artists of that time period into her plot and built a story around them and the politics of the time. Pretty good, but only if you are also interested in the art history or politics of that time period in the war years.

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