Monday, January 17, 2011

A Review of The Marriage Artist by Andrew Winer

The Marriage Artist: A Novel
4 out of 5: The Marriage Artist, Andrew Winer’s latest novel, weaves together two love stories, one contemporary and one historical. As Daniel Lichtmann, a modern-day art critic, seeks the truth behind his wife’s recent suicide, he discovers a back story that originates in Vienna before World War II and continues through the Holocaust. Winer’s portrayal of love and marriage in difficult circumstances is nuanced and intelligent. The Marriage Artist avoids syrupy, sentimental romances in favor of complicated, and often doomed, relationships that reflect the idiosyncrasies of their participants: “[W] hen we love we are not really looking to see something new, but rather our own ideas embodied in the other person—qualities that awaken echoes already resounding in us.” This finding of ourselves within those we love is an important concept explored by The Marriage Artist.

Along with love, art is a recurring motif across the decades of this novel, beginning with the beautiful illuminated marriage contracts made by Josef Pick, a Jewish artist in Vienna, and continuing up to the dramatic final sculptures of contemporary artist Benjamin Wind. Eventually, this novel’s present and past love stories converge in a devastating conclusion. Overall, The Marriage Artist is a sensitive rumination on the complex nature of love and marriage.


Zibilee said...

I haven't heard much about this book, but you make it sound rather interesting. I think the dual storyline would really capture my attention. Thanks for the great review, Gwen!

Swapna said...

This book sounds interesting - thanks for the review!

Richard said...

Sometimes lovely, sometimes purple. Too many words to support a not unfamilar theme with cleverness but not brilliance. Some sections in part three are embarassing bodice ripper style. Really. Much overpraised 2.5 of 5.