Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Top 10 artworks in novels

Ian MacKenzie's debut novel, City of Strangers, is published in paperback this month by Penguin.

At the Guardian, he named his top 10 artworks in novels.

One book on the list:
The Use of Reason by Colm Tóibín (from Mothers and Sons)

Another Rembrandt in peril. Tóibín's protagonist, a calm and calculating thief of high-end goods, strays out of his depth when he purloins some works of art, including a Portrait of an Old Woman by the Dutch master. He is fluent in the handling of jewels or money, but fumbles a plan to fence the paintings to some enigmatic Dutch customers, and finds himself weighted down with a priceless but unsalable item. The brilliance of the story lies in the reader's agony as he tracks the fate of the painting, which nears an unimaginable point of no return. In the finale, Tóibín makes us shake at the dark future that awaits an irreplaceable artwork, and in the process forces us to consider what we value, and why.
Read about all ten items on MacKenzie's list.

--Marshal Zeringue