The Art Fair

The Art Fair

author: David Lipsky

name: Steev

average rating: 3.06

book published: 1996

rating: 5

read at: 2015/09/28

date added: 2015/09/29

shelves: art, fun, novels, own-it, spirit-self

A really nice memoir-like novel about growing up, divorce, being a parent to your parent, and the art world. On the last topic the book is really quite funny, and is at a level of clever snarkiness that borders on mean-spirited. The portrayal of the the cutthroat social struggle of aspiring art stars and dealers is one of the most biting and frank that I've ever read, with an undercurrent of bitterness and rage that makes me certain Lipsky's own childhood was seriously scarred by that scene.

The book does in a way what all of the best fiction can do - inspire empathy and understanding, perhaps as far as identification, even in readers whose own experience is far removed from what's depicted. In this case, my own relationship with my mother couldn't be farther from the narrator's with his mother, and in fact the idea of standing up my girlfriend on her birthday because I'm waiting for a call from my mother is just about the most foreign idea that I can think of (in fact I'd readily do the opposite, in a heartbeat, to be honest). Yet somehow by the second half the story has swept me along into a mental state where it all makes sense.

If I could give fractional stars, I'd have to say this is a 4.5, because it's really a quite simple and uncomplicated novel, formally, but it expertly accomplishes its relatively unambitious goals, so I've rounded up.