FICTION

In the Full Light of the Sun

Houghton Harcourt. Jul. 2019. 432p. ISBN 9780544147577. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780544146822. f;.
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This engaging, emotionally rich novel by Clark (The Great Stink; Savage Lands) is inspired by a famous historical forgery case involving the artwork of the tortured, brilliant Vincent van Gogh. Set in Berlin during the rise of the Nazis in the 1920s and early 1930s, the plot involves a number of disputed van Gogh paintings and three people whose lives become entwined because of them: a famous art critic and van Gogh expert, a young woman who is drawn to the artist’s work, and a Jewish attorney who represents one of the principals in the case. A sense of uncertainty presides—about the art pieces, certainly, but also about the key relationships that develop among the characters, some of which turn out to be exploitative and predatory. Ultimately, the novel becomes a meditation on the nature of what’s “real”—in art and in life. Authenticity is something much harder to judge, Clark suggests, than we may like to think.
VERDICT A beautifully crafted exploration about living in a very complex world; recommended for fans of literary fiction, historical novels, and art history. [See Prepub Alert, 1/23/19.]

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