Happy #artbookfriday peeps. Today I have a novel about art for you instead of a classic art book. ‘The improbability of love’ (= Die Launenhaftigkeit der Liebe) is a great fictional story about the art world and one painting in particular. The setting is my favorite city in the world: London. When I first saw it I thought it’s a tipical women’s book because the cover is quite cheesy but thank God I have to read everything with art in it so I discovered a wonderful story in the end.
The author Hannah Rothschild (*1962) works as an author and film director. She writes for Vanity Fair, The New York Times, Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue. The art business in which her novel plays is well known to her because she has been active in the curatories of renowned museums such as the Tate Gallery for many years. Since 2015, she is the first woman to ever be part the board of the National Gallery. ’The improbability of love’ was nominated for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction and was awarded the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction and the book was published in about ten countries by now.
It’s hard to tell the genre with this book. It includes a crime and a love story, a great description of the crazyness in the art world and how it works and also best of all it’s all about what art can do to you.
The main character, Annie McDee, thirty-one, lives in a shabby London flat, works as a chef for an art dealer, and is struggling to get by. At the beginning of the story she is actually a very sad main character I couldn’t really relate to. Reeling from a sudden breakup, she’s taken on an unsuitable new lover and finds herself rummaging through a secondhand shop to buy him a birthday gift. A dusty, anonymous old painting catches her eye. After spending her meager savings on the artwork, Annie prepares an exquisite birthday dinner for two—only to be stood up. Well as I sad, pretty sad person that Annie.
But the painting gets to her, and Annie begins to suspect that it may be more valuable than she’d thought. Soon she finds herself pursued by parties who would do anything to possess her picture: an exiled Russian oligarch, an avaricious sheikha, an unscrupulous art dealer. In her search for the painting’s identity, Annie will unwittingly discover some of the darkest secrets of European history and she also ends up in jail.
I really had to get used to Annie in the first place, so it took me a moment to really get into the story but it has a lot of tension as the story jumps from one person to the other and every chapter leaves you with more questions than answers. A funny bonus is that there’re some chapters in which the painting tell its story, too. It sounds silly but is highly entertaining.
So if you looking for an easy and entertaining read with a lot of art in it this is your book!
#book | The improbability of love / Die Launenhaftigkeit der Liebe
#author | Hannah Rothschild
#language | German, English
#publisher | DVA Verlag (German), Bloomsbury (English)
#ISBN | 978-3-421-04713-7 (German)
#pages | 512
#published | 2016
you can get your copy here.