Forgery

Overview

The spellbinding new novel from the award-winning author of The Caprices and A Carnivore’s Inquiry transports us to a mysterious world of deception, political intrigue, and desire. In the summer of 1963, American Rupert Brigg travels to Greece to collect classical pieces for his Uncle William’s art collection. Rupert’s first discovery, however, is that Athens is a shadowy place that hides a tangle of fork-tongued diplomacy and duplicitous women, a city of replicas and composites that, like a hall of mirrors, ...

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Forgery

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Overview

The spellbinding new novel from the award-winning author of The Caprices and A Carnivore’s Inquiry transports us to a mysterious world of deception, political intrigue, and desire. In the summer of 1963, American Rupert Brigg travels to Greece to collect classical pieces for his Uncle William’s art collection. Rupert’s first discovery, however, is that Athens is a shadowy place that hides a tangle of fork-tongued diplomacy and duplicitous women, a city of replicas and composites that, like a hall of mirrors, calls to question what is real and what is false. Journeying to the secluded island of Aspros, among a circle of artists and aristocrats, each with their own secrets, Rupert finds the very pieces he’s searching for, but can he escape the tragedy that ended his brief marriage? As beautiful as Rupert’s discoveries are, beneath the surface lurk rumors of insurrection, fabrication, and even murder. Seductive, compelling, and sly, Forgery is a sophisticated book about the value and meaning of art, love, and the corrosive power of grief.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Murray's latest, following the PEN/Faulkner Award–winning The Caprices(2002) and A Carnivore's Inquiry(2005), opens in the summer of 1963, as art and antiquities dealer Rupert Brigg travels to Athens to scout out ancient artifacts on behalf of his millionaire uncle, William. Rupert, who narrates icily in sharp contrast to his garrulous personality, connects with Steve Kelly, a canny journalist with deep contacts. The scene shifts to the island of Aspros, where Rupert encounters a coterie of expatriates that includes the sculptor Jack Weldon, who, despite art world recognition, spends most of his time faking up Achilles and Diomedes, and Rupert's romantic interest, the withering, erratic Olivia. Just as Rupert is deciding whether or not he has come up with the archeological find of the century—a spurious second century A.D. torso dredged up in a zucchini field—the offstage murder of a prominent character is phoned in by Steve Kelly. One by one, Rupert's own secrets (a stifled childhood, a spectacularly failed marriage) are slowly revealed, showcasing Murray's narrative cunning, and setting the narrative's pulse racing. Rupert's true identity is the book's parallel mystery, and Murray has one believing that discretion may be the soul of fraudulence until the ambiguous dénouement, which leaves readers to re-evaluate the pieces of plot for authenticity. (June)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

Rupert Brigg, an American visiting Greece in the 1960s, plays the central role in this latest from PEN/Faulkner Award winner Murray (A Carnivore's Inquiry). But the main draw is neither the setting nor Brigg's hunt for lost treasures of classical antiquity. The novel is a pleasure because of the way the real Brigg unfolds throughout; the story of his divorce and of his extreme grief and sense of loss are not apparent at the outset. Not unlike Ann Packer's The Dive from Clausen's Pier, Murray's narrative refuses to depict overwhelming mourning but shows its effects in quiet, biting ways. Murray also interestingly juxtaposes the subject of fake antiquities with both fake and real portraits of characters. Lacking rhythm, the restrained prose does not effectively create flowing dialog, but with just a few words Murray conjures images that stay with the reader for days. Recommended for public libraries.
—Shalini Miskelly

Library Journal
Antiquities, forgeries, and lost love await American Rupert Brigg in 1960s Greece in the latest by the PEN/Faulkner Award winner (The Caprices). Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
From Murray (A Carnivore's Inquiry, 2004, etc.), a disappointing novel set in a politically-charged Greece, mainly on the fictionalized island of Aspros in 1963. It's much more fun to describe the contents of the novel than to actually read it. Rupert Brigg is visiting Greece to uncover antiquities-even fake ones will do-for the man he calls Uncle William, but who is really his father. Along the way, Brigg meets a cluster of people: Clive and Nathan, a gay couple; Jack and Amanda, an artist and his promiscuous wife; the handsome Nikos, Amanda's lover; Hester, the wife Rupert divorced; Olivia, who falls in love with Rupert but dies of cancer; and Steve Kelly, a prying newspaperman, as well as various revelers, diggers and double-crossers. In weak homage to Hemingway, there's an astonishing amount of drinking and smoking. So let's see . . . we have Greece, island caves, political and personal intrigue, art (and its simulacrum-see title), adultery, terminal illness and even murder, but it all adds up to very little. The novel has no pace or drive, no buildup or payoff. The murder doesn't particularly interest the reader, and the revelation of the murderer is practically mentioned as an aside. Even Rupert's personal tragedy-the death of his two-year-old son Michael-doesn't give him much depth, and we don't feel sympathetic to his coping mechanisms. We're told how talented an artist Jack is, but the idolatry on which the novel ends seems misplaced. At one point Rupert seems to uncover in himself some aptitude for art, perhaps arising from his training as an expert in authenticating furniture, but with his usual ennui he explains to Nikos that he has "no creative urge. No obsession. No gloriousdementia . . . No gift." That about sums things up. Doesn't deliver anything it aims for.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802143686
  • Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/11/2008
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.80 (d)

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