I almost overlooked this new novel by Steve Martin. But after reading Ron Charles’s review in the Washington Post last month, I decided to give it a read.
Daniel Franks narrates the story which mostly takes place in NYC. He is telling the story of his friend, Lacey Yeager. And it is all about the art world written over a fifteen year period.
Martin uses his comedic nature to give this unique and lively novel just the lightness it deserves.
Lacey Yeager is the young, hotter than hot protagonist. She begins her life in the art world by walking into Sotheby’s and getting a job almost on the spot. She’s got the look and the attitude and uses it to her advantage.
As Lacey works her way up the art ladder we get to tag along. I learned so much about the art world. Mostly, the story stays in NYC, but there are some interesting side trips: to Paris, Russia, and even Miami. Martin knows the art world. He has quite the collection himself.
Lacey has an ego as tall as the Empire State Building. She also has some kind of sex drive. And she’s reckless. She’s a man magnet. And she knows it. Uses it all to her advantage.
Daniel Franks, the narrator, has been in love with Lacey for what seems like forever. But his is not a fawning type of love. They are truly just friends at this point. The romance long gone. Lacey uses her friendship with Daniel to move this story along. And it works well. You may even say it works swimmingly.
My favorite part of the novel has to do with the fact that Lacey’s grandmother once posed for the great artist Maxfield Parrish. Where does that grand piece of art work exist now?
There is mystery, intrigue, and plenty of dealings with money and without money. This story begins during the big boom in art before 9/11. And the story continues through the good times, right up to and through, the falling out. It’s all so contemporary.
So, grab a copy of this lovely book. The cover really is pretty. And the 22 color entries of paintings will give warmth and authenticity. Get lost in NYC and learn more about artists and patrons than you knew. Who’d a thunk it? Steve Martin has really hit his stride.