! The Art of Murder BOOK RING

by Jose Carlos Somoza | Mystery & Thrillers |
ISBN: 0349117063 Global Overview for this book
Registered by Semioticghost of Ipswich, Suffolk United Kingdom on 1/17/2005
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11 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by Semioticghost from Ipswich, Suffolk United Kingdom on Monday, January 17, 2005
Given to my by a friend with the plea to read and bookcross!

Journal Entry 2 by Semioticghost from Ipswich, Suffolk United Kingdom on Sunday, February 20, 2005
This is one of the best 'thrillers' I have read in a long time - beautifully written, well-paced as well as unusually and startlingly original, it could delight both the mystery and the sci-fi comunity.
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.

Journal Entry 3 by Semioticghost from Ipswich, Suffolk United Kingdom on Tuesday, February 22, 2005
This is now a book ring and will travel to the following:
Mastulela
Ffyrestarr
Elestr
Akg
MrsDanvers
Scatz
Rillaith
Cats-eye
..
Yourself?
..
...and back to me.

Released 15 yrs ago (2/24/2005 UTC) at Postal Release in Postal release, Postal Release -- Controlled Releases

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

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....

Journal Entry 5 by Mastulela from Nuneaton, Warwickshire United Kingdom on Thursday, February 24, 2005
Arrived safely this morning. I have one large book to finish - half way through - then this will be next.

Journal Entry 6 by Mastulela from Nuneaton, Warwickshire United Kingdom on Friday, March 04, 2005
A bizarre book, but then I find conceptual art bizarre. There were many aspects of the novel which I found disturbing; the objectification of individuals; psychological manipulation which teetered between psycho-analysis and 'brain-washing'. I found some of the periferal descriptions unnecessarily excessive, repetitive and prurient. The novel is too long, but is sufficiently well constructed to pull one along to the climax. This is a book I wont forget, and I will certainly read his The Athenian Murders .

Thank you for bookcrossing it Semioticghost. Now onto Ffyrestarr. (Posted on 8-3-05)

Journal Entry 7 by ffyrestarr from Warminster, Wiltshire United Kingdom on Wednesday, March 09, 2005
hey! recieved this today thanks! my mum partcularly liked the pink "flupsy-floos" (ribbon) as she described it on the bookmark!!*g*

Journal Entry 8 by ffyrestarr from Warminster, Wiltshire United Kingdom on Monday, March 28, 2005
finished reading last night. very strange book, but very well translated by Nick Caistor (i think)as translations can sometimes not flow very well and this did.

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

Journal Entry 9 by Elestr from Kimberley, Nottinghamshire United Kingdom on Saturday, April 09, 2005
Received this morning. Will journal properly when I have read it. This one is in 3rd place on MTBR.

Iris/Elestr:)

Journal Entry 10 by Elestr from Kimberley, Nottinghamshire United Kingdom on Sunday, May 08, 2005
Finally got round to reading this one.
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.

Iris/Elestr:)

Journal Entry 11 by akg from Didcot, Oxfordshire United Kingdom on Saturday, May 14, 2005
I am looking forward to reading this book as it is so different to what I would normally read and it sounds so interesting.

I've got two other rings to finish first and then I'm on to this one.

Journal Entry 12 by akg from Didcot, Oxfordshire United Kingdom on Tuesday, July 05, 2005
Wanted to give up an update incase you thought I'd forgotten or lost this book.

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.

Journal Entry 13 by akg from Didcot, Oxfordshire United Kingdom on Monday, July 18, 2005
The story is based in the art world of Europe. The most popular art is hyperdramatism, where people are the canvas. The canvases are painted daily and hold their positions, without moving, every day for 10 hours in museums or private collections. There is large demand to be canvases especially for the masters such as Bruno van Tysch and people go on training courses, take drugs to stop bodily functions and practise holding positions for the honour to become a masterpiece worth millions of dollars.

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.

Journal Entry 14 by akg from Didcot, Oxfordshire United Kingdom on Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Posted to MrsDanvers today. Packaged it up in such a hurry to make it to the post office I forgot to put even a hello happy reading note in, sorry for being so rude.

Journal Entry 15 by MrsDanvers from Aldeburgh, Suffolk United Kingdom on Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Received from akg today. Highly recommended by Semioticghost, thanks for sharing. On the pile of TBRs begging to be read soon.

Journal Entry 16 by MrsDanvers from Aldeburgh, Suffolk United Kingdom on Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Apologies - this journal entry is written so long after i've read the book due to building work followed by a bankrupt ISP.
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.

Journal Entry 17 by Scatz from Aldeburgh, Suffolk United Kingdom on Saturday, November 05, 2005
Recommended and passed to me by MrsDanvers, at the end of Semioticghost's ring.

Journal Entry 18 by Scatz from Aldeburgh, Suffolk United Kingdom on Saturday, November 05, 2005
Initially the idea of "hyperdramatism" interested me, however, as I progressed through the book the idea positively repulsed me. I disliked the idea of "owning" and manipulating humans so much that I couldn't finish the book. Manipulation to the extent of blnding a fellow human being ( even if temporarily) is the antithisis of my philosophy of life.

As I reacted so violently to "hyperdramatism", I suggest that the author has been successful in conveying this concept realistically.

Journal Entry 19 by WistfulDragon from Streatham, Greater London United Kingdom on Saturday, December 10, 2005
Thank you for the book, and the lovely postcard! I am now extremely puzzled though, as I'm not on the list - not about receiving the book, as I want to read it, but who do I send it to next?!

Journal Entry 20 by MrsDanvers from Aldeburgh, Suffolk United Kingdom on Monday, December 12, 2005
Latest additions to the ring after Scatz:

WistfulDragon
Rillaith
Cats-eye

Journal Entry 21 by WistfulDragon from Streatham, Greater London United Kingdom on Monday, December 12, 2005
Thank you for the update! I started the book this morning, so shall contact Rillaith for snail mail details.

Journal Entry 22 by WistfulDragon from Streatham, Greater London United Kingdom on Thursday, December 15, 2005
Fantastic book! An interesting concept that is stretched so that you easily see the seamy side and are repulsed, an insight into those caught up in the concept that in turns intrigues and disgusts you, and over all, a murder mystery of a truly horrific nature. I cringed, but I couldn't help reading on as fast as possible!

Passing on to Rillaith.

Journal Entry 23 by Rillaith from Wokingham, Berkshire United Kingdom on Thursday, December 15, 2005
Collected at The Clarence from WistfulDragon at lunchtime, thanks :)

Journal Entry 24 by Rillaith at Bookring in to another bookcrosser, By Post -- Controlled Releases on Friday, January 06, 2006

Released 14 yrs ago (1/6/2006 UTC) at Bookring in to another bookcrosser, By Post -- Controlled Releases

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

RELEASE NOTES:

Popped in the post to cats-eye - should arrive Monday/Tuesday or so.

Journal Entry 25 by Rillaith from Wokingham, Berkshire United Kingdom on Friday, January 06, 2006
This was a really excellent book. The character development, plot craftsmanship, pace and level of detail were all just right. A very unique concept, and only asks us to accept one thing not in our current world as true, which is a good maxim for any fantasy or sci-fi type book, although I would hesitate to classify this book as such!!

Journal Entry 26 by cats-eye from Bishop Auckland, County Durham United Kingdom on Monday, January 09, 2006
Arrived safe and sound today in the post - thank you, Rilliath, for the postcard and the lovely bar of choccie...I *love* fruit and nut! The perfect way to end my first day back to work after the holidays...a good book and some chocolate :o)
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!

Journal Entry 27 by cats-eye from Bishop Auckland, County Durham United Kingdom on Friday, January 27, 2006
what a fantastic book! I agree wholeheartedly with Semioticghost's comments - a truly original plot and beautifully translated (where others often fall down), this book nicely crosses the mystery/thriller/fiction/light sci-fi genres and keeps you hooked until the end. My only niggle with this one was I wish Somoza had opted for a hazy futuristic timescale, as opposed to setting the date at the beginning - it was difficult to immerse myself in a story that was meant to be in "the future", but in reality was the "now"! (if that makes ANY sense, LOL!).
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!

Journal Entry 28 by cats-eye from Bishop Auckland, County Durham United Kingdom on Saturday, February 04, 2006
Missed the post today, but I will be sending this out first class to Angellica on Monday. Enjoy!

Journal Entry 29 by angellica from Worksop, Nottinghamshire United Kingdom on Tuesday, February 07, 2006
Arrived safely this morning :) I am going to enjoy the chocolate - providing I can prise it out of my toddlers fingers.....

Journal Entry 30 by Semioticghost from Ipswich, Suffolk United Kingdom on Wednesday, February 15, 2006
Bookspook and Diomedes have just joined this bookring - but here's no rush, Angellica, I know when you signed up for this you said it would be a while beofre you'd get to read it.

Journal Entry 31 by angellica from Worksop, Nottinghamshire United Kingdom on Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Just to let you know that I'm very nearly done with this book. It's taken me quite a while to read it as I can read it for a while, then I need to take a break from it. Not sure why I'm finding it such tricky reading.

I am enjoying it though, strangely.

I'll be back to update when I have finished

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