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The Artist's Widow

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Cover artist  Carol Sharp
Media type  Print
Originally published  July 1998
Page count  288
3.3/5 Goodreads

Language  English
Pages  288
Author  Shena Mackay
Country  United Kingdom
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Publisher  Jonathan Cape (UK) Moyer Bell Ltd. (US)
Publication date  Jul 1998 (UK) Jun 1999 (US)
Similar  Dreams of Dead Women's, Redhill rococo, Music upstairs, The Atmospheric Railway, The Orchard on Fire

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The Artist's Widow is a novel written by British author Shena Mackay and first published in 1998 by Jonathan Cape. It is mentioned twice in the Bloomsbury Good Reading Guide (2003)

Contents

Plot introduction

Set in the contemporary art scene in London, it is centred on Lyris, the widow of John Crane, and begins at a viewing of her late husband's work; also present are her friend Clovis Ingram – a bookstore owner, a beautiful young television film-maker called Zoe, and Lyris' great nephew Nathan Pursey, an up-and-coming performance artist. The book concerns their complex interelationships in the wake of John Crane's death.

Reception

  • According to the The Concise Oxford Companion to English Literature (2003) this 'satire on modern artistic values, is one of her most astringent novels'.
  • Paul Baumann's review in The New York Times opened with 'this is a vicious little book, and thus all the more enjoyable'.
  • Michael Arditti in The Independent is also positive, "Mackay’s gifts for biting description and black comedy are both much in evidence here" and her "prose is a joy to read".
  • Publishers Weekly concludes "As her characters experience the insecurities of youth, the crises of the middle years and the regrets of old age, Mackay explores the issues of artistic creativity, moral values and friendship. She writes in language as quick and lethal as a snake's tongue... The sadness at the narrative's core is beautifully controlled; the wit is buoyant."
  • Publication history

  • 1998, UK, Jonathan Cape, ISBN 0-224-05134-2, Pub date 02 Jul 1998, Hardback
  • 1999, US, Moyer Bell, ISBN 1-55921-229-2, Pub date May 1999, Hardback
  • 1999, UK, Vintage, ISBN 0-09-928782-X, Pub date 01 Jul 1999, Paperback
  • 1999, UK, Isis, ISBN 0-7531-6025-0, Pub date Jul 1999, Large print
  • 2000, UK, Isis, ISBN 0-7531-0819-4, Pub date 29 Nov 2000, Audio book
  • References

    The Artist's Widow Wikipedia


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