! The Art of Murder BOOK RING
11 journalers for this copy...
A review nicked from amazon.co.uk, because it puts things far more eloquently that I could at present:
The year is 2006, and the latest craze in the art world is "hyperdramatism". Human beings become the canvases, the art, and are exhibited in museums, bought and rented by collectors. Young men and women queue up for the privilege of being turned into "works of art", painted and signed; made famous. Individualism has gone out of the window; people are turned into a celebrated commodity.
The most acclaimed artist of all is Dutch master Bruno van Tysch, reclusive and enigmatic. However, when Annek Hollech, a model in his exhibition "Flowers", is abducted and killed, the lines between the canvas and the person behind it become confusingly blurred. Agents from van Tysch's security agency, April Wood and Lothar Bosch, are assigned to investigate the murder. Their job is made harder by the secrecy that the investigation has to be kept in - news must not get out or there would be outcry and panic. On top of that, van Tysch is about to launch a major new exhibition in Amsterdam - based on 13 of Rembrandt's masterpieces - and suspicions are rife that the murdered is about to strike again.
This novel succeeds admirably on several levels. Firstly, it succeeds as a knowing critique of a society which invests so much in appearance, in humans as a commodity. It also succeeds, hugely, as an investigation into everything concerned with art - its relevance, its morality (this strand stretches far out of art though, and encompasses humans in general), its future, its importance. He raises large questions, and you'd never think that such an abstract a topic as "art" could form such solid foundations for a novel ideas, which is partly what this book is.
It's sharply written and well-translated, and you get the sense of a formidable intelligence behind it all - as with his previous book. Possibly it is slightly too long. As a whole, it is not quite as good as The Athenian Murders, a cerebral masterpiece, and it's end isn't as stunning (none are, though) but that doesn't mean it isn't great. Apparently there are no more books immediately scheduled to be translated, but I dearly hope that that state of affairs will change. Somoza's prize-winning, boundary-smashing novels should all be translated into English, and I for one will gladly read them as they are.
...and back to me.
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
Sent off on the first leg of a book ring. I do controlled releases for those these days, because a fair number of my bookrings were never journalled or got lost in the post. Here's to hoping....
Thank you for bookcrossing it Semioticghost. Now onto Ffyrestarr. (Posted on 8-3-05)
the idea of people being canvases and paintings above and beyond the actual individual fills me with a definite dread - i hate the idea of any person being treated as a object.
so quite a terrible move for modern art - i hope it never happens - and (not to spoil the story) i found it interesting how the 'painting' being destroyed was more important (to some) than the person being killed!!
ah well very interesting and well written none the less. sending to elestr
I thought, initially when I joined the ray that the book would be similar to "The Illustrated Man" - how wrong I was.
A very strange but compelling book with vivid descriptions of the actions of being a canvas (a concept I can readily see happening in the real world in the not so distant future BTW)
i enjoyed the book eve though I guessed the denouement about half way through.
To go to AKG when I have their address.
I've got two other rings to finish first and then I'm on to this one.
Things have been hectic and I haven't had much time to read lately, but I'm now managing to fit in a bit each day. I'm about a third of the way through and I'm really intrigued by the story.
However there is a dark side to the hyperdramatic movement, with the illegal creation of ornaments where canvases are turned into everyday objects e.g. lamps, chairs, the kidnapping of children to be used as canvases and in this book the murder of some of Bruno van Tysch’s finest pieces.
Although this is a murder mystery book I didn’t think of it in that way. I was so absorbed in how well the hyperdramatic movement was explained and developed through the book (I could actually believe it really existed) that I very rarely thought about who the murder could be. The debate on morality throughout the book was also fascinating; is hyperdramatism cruel even though people want to be canvases, and were the victims murdered people or destroyed pieces of art.
I really enjoyed this book as the ideas were so original and I would recommend it to others to read although I’m not sure I would read it a second time. I didn’t realise it was a translation till I was near the end of the book, so I think the translator did a fantastic job as the story flows brilliantly.
This was a interesting and original book and although described as a murder mystery it's far more than that.
The concept of hyperdramatism was so well described that it is hard to believe that it doesn't already exist in some deviant part of the conceptual art world.
The murders are horrific (think some of the worst excesses of Val Mcdermid) but the investigation is very cerebral with much of it taken up with debate on how the murders should be considered - loss of life or loss of property?
This is the nub of hyper-dramatism, the use of humans as art, through their complete objectification. There are very serious moral issues raised here. I was particularly appalled by the use of people as objects - tables, chairs and lamps.
This was a fantastic, compelling read and I would highly recommend it.
I have passed it on to a fellow Bookcrosser, scatz, who asked to read it, on my recommendation.
As I reacted so violently to "hyperdramatism", I suggest that the author has been successful in conveying this concept realistically.
Passing on to Rillaith.
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
Popped in the post to cats-eye - should arrive Monday/Tuesday or so.
I'll finish up a couple small books I have on the go, and start on this ASAP, I've been looking forward to it!
This was the first work by Somoza that I have read, but I will now look for his others based on the strength of "The Art of Murder".
Thank you for sharing this one, Semioticghost...as soon as I have your address, I'll post this back home to you as it appears I'm the last one in the ring!
I am enjoying it though, strangely.
I'll be back to update when I have finished