An Object of Beauty: A Novel by Steve Martin (Hachette Audio,$34.98)
An Object of Beauty is the first novel I’ve read by Steve Martin. I’ve enjoyed Martin’s comedy and movies for years, and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from him as an author. What I discovered was a very well written, intriguing novel about the art world in New York City in the 1990′s and 2000′s. My husband loves to talk about how Steve Martin is one of the premier banjo players in the country. With his music, comedy, acting, and writing, I think it is safe to say that Steve Martin is a true renaissance man.
An Object of Beauty has one of the most unusual heroines that I’ve had the pleasure to read about. In the vein of Scarlett O’Hara or Catherine Earnshaw, Lacey Yeager is a strong-willed woman who cares mostly about herself and getting ahead at the cost of those who get in her way. Yet, she is fascinating to read about. I really enjoyed this book and couldn’t stop listening to Lacey’s story.
An Object of Beauty is narrated by Lacey’s friend Daniel. Daniel once had a casual fling with Lacey, but now meets her occasionally as a friend and fellow art lover. While Daniel writes for an art magazine, Lacey works her way up the chain of the art world to own her own gallery. Lacey’s rise to the top is filled with scheming and intrigue, and involves at least one mystery that is finally resolved at the end of the story. Lacey has learned to find art an “object of money” rather than an “object of beauty” and she lets this passion control all even if it costs her the love of her life.
Lacey’s journey was fascinating and I especially loved how the art world and Lacey’s place in it paralleled the major events of our time. This included the rise of the markets in the 90′s and early 00′s and the crash at the end of the decade. Lacey’s experience on 9/11 was quite intriguing and I couldn’t turn the CD off at that point! I also didn’t know how this affected the art world. I know next to nothing about art and I loved Martin’s detailed explanation of how the art world works. It was interesting and never boring.
I listened to the audiobook as read by Campbell Scott. He did a fair job as a narrator and stood in for me as Steve Martin narrating the novel.
Laura Arlt Gerold
Used by permission. You can read more reviews by Laura Arlt Gerold at the brilliantly titled Laura’s Reviews, http://lauragerold.blogspot.com/ .
A review copy of the audiobook was provided by the publisher.