The Muralist

The Muralist

A Novel

Book - 2015
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A novel of art, history, love, and politics that traces the life and mysterious disappearance of a brilliant young artist on the eve of World War II.
Publisher: Chapel Hill, North Carolina : Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2015
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781616203573
Characteristics: 337 pages ; 24 cm
Call Number: SHAPIRO, B


From Library Staff

Shapiro paints a vivid picture of the art world and undiscovered secrets hidden behind the paintings of 1940’s abstract expressionist artists. The author deftly moves between past and present. Eleanor Roosevelt plays a cameo role in the novel, in which art and politics spiral in a daring course.

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May 24, 2019

This is a wonderful book that weaves a part of disturbing world history with a modern day art centered mystery.
It is well written and designed to teach much about the art world as well as the World War II crisis that culminated in the unfortunate holocaust. Though much shorter and less in its intensity, it reminded me of Winds of War (and War and Remembrance) written by the late Herman Wouk who attempted this as well.
A crashing point of the book is the true documentation of the reprehensible Breckenridge Long and how this awful man did some horrendous things. Most people have never even heard of him.
I truly recommend this book, as I do her prior book, The Art Forger.

Jul 27, 2017

Enjoyed this book. It was a page turner and it takes you into the world of art.

Mar 16, 2017

The artists (real and crazy ones) life and learning to appreciate abstract expressionist (their creative process, though the outcome must be still alien to me) drew me to the book. I wanted to learn the fate of Alizee without giving so much compassion as she deserved, wasn't surprised at the ending.
Anti-Jew then echoes anti-Muslim (immigrants) now, but any work about Holocaust is getting harder to please me.
I raved about The Art Forger partially, not sure if it's more contemporary or it's about classic painting style that my old soul cry for.

Jun 14, 2016

Great read! I enjoyed the story going back and forth ffrom the present to the earlier times and being told from the pionts of view of both the aunt and Danielle. Interesting build on actual historical persons and events.

Apr 01, 2016

A gifted artist working on WPA murals in NYC as WWII breaks out in Europe and a modern day Christie's employee searching for provenance to Abstract Expressionist art they may auction are the two women at the heart of this mystery. The question becomes whether the earlier artist is the long-lost great aunt of the other.
Shapiro blends fictional characters with real artists of the day and political figures like Eleanor Roosevelt and a shady Breckinridge Long to tell a tale of passion and perseverance when your family is at risk and art can ignite political discourse. Just like Europe’s current asylum-seeker crises, the one during this time resulted in widely differing opinions. Good to explore even if it’s a little distracting to the main story.

Jan 07, 2016

I liked this book and its story of a young woman, Danielle, in 2015, trying to solve the disappearance of her Aunt Alizee, a young artist in New York in the early 1940's as WW2 was starting.
I would have liked it better though if more of the book had been devoted to the telling of the "disappearance" part of the story, I think that might have made for an interesting read.

Dec 07, 2015

For me THE MURALIST wasn't quite as satisfying as author B. A. Shapiro's earlier novel, THE ART FORGER still there were certain aspects that I enjoyed. THE MURALIST is an historic novel which intertwines the stories of 2 fictional heroines, Alizee and Danielle, from different time periods in America (1939-1941) and present day. Shapiro does a good job of inserting real-life characters and events within her story. Before this book, I didn't know that much about abstract expressionism but as I read I was prompted to learn more about the real painters who were major influences in this movement. Likewise I found the discussion about creativity, artistic talent, self-medication, and mental illness fascinating. The issues of Jewish immigration to pre-WWII America are raised which I found compelling and timely in light of our current debates regarding Syrian refugees. Overall, THE MURALIST explores the following themes: mystery, politics, family, and the consequences of one's action or apathy. My only criticisms are that at times the writing and dialogues seemed forced and the ending was rushed and a little too neat.

Dec 06, 2015

I enjoyed this book, although maybe not quite as much as her previous novel "The Art Forger". I particular was engrossed by the interaction of her character Alizee Benoit with fellow artists Rothko, Pollock and Krasner. I found her story gripping, but found the character Danielle a little weak. Fortunately the end tied the entire story together and mitigated that shortcoming.


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