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Is It Real Or Is It…?

The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiroart forger

This is a popular book; I’ve seen it around a lot and heard it mentioned in a positive context. The topic interested me. I think what really grabbed me is the cover art. Always meant to read it. Finally did.

What I liked about the book:

A glimpse into a new (for me) milieu: the Boston art world and the world of art in general. Lots of interesting details about painting techniques.

What I didn’t like:

Lots of detail about painting technique. I get that to really understand the plot the reader needed a more than superficial understanding of the artist’s technique, but at times it read like a lesson, not a novel.


The main character, blacklisted but extremely talented (and sexy of course) artist Claire Roth.

Didn’t like:

Claire’s character could have used more emotional depth and complexity.

Didn’t like:

A narrative style that sometimes seemed confused about whether it was telling the story in past or present tense, and a voice that was often dry, dispassionate and distant.

Didn’t like:

A story that, near the end, suddenly veered from something more artsy and somewhat literary into a fast-paced police thriller complete with a deceptively friendly FBI guy.


The premise (a stolen Degas; a forged Degas; other things about Degas I won’t give away), the misunderstood, maligned, and yet talented and tenacious protagonist, the inclusion of some Impressionist history, and the back story (real and imagined) of museum creator Isabella Stewart Gardner.

This is the point at which I should be assigning a number of stars and thumbs up or down, but I’ll leave it at this and let you decide if this a book you wish to read.

Let me know.

Author: Lynn Rosen

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