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The Forgery of Venus: A Novel (Hardcover) by Michael Gruber

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Starred Review. Bestseller Gruber (The Book of Air and Shadows) probes the boundaries between sanity and madness in his outstanding sixth novel. Talented Chaz Wilmot, who makes a modest living as a commercial artist in New York City, can’t say no when Mark Slade, his former Columbia roommate who now owns a downtown gallery, offers him $150,000 to fix a ruined Tiepolo ceiling in a Venetian palazzo (the ceiling had essentially collapsed, so it wasn’t a restoration job exactly but more like a reproducing job). Once abroad, Wilmot gets sucked into an increasingly bizarre world where his own identity is confused and the art he produces may be a forgery but is genuinely magnificent. Is Wilmot crazy or is he being manipulated in a grandiose scheme linked to unrecovered art stolen by the Nazis? Gruber writes passionately and knowledgeably about art and its historyラand he writes brilliantly about the shadowy lines that blur reality and unreality. Fans of intelligent, literate thrillers will be well rewarded.

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