Well, I figured it was time to write a review. Sorry it’s been so long, and I wish I could catch up today, but I have to keep studying too. So here’s a quick one.
The Forgery of Venus by Michael Gruber follows Chaz Wilmot, a gifted artist who has yet to live up to his incredible potential, much to his wife’s dismay. He paints mediocre, commercial work, to help keep his struggling family afloat. When his former college roommate approaches him to redo a destroyed Venetian ceiling, Wilmot can’t ignore the paycheck, and so agrees. While out of the country he is propositioned to do other pieces, and Wilmot begins to lose his sense of identity, and his sense of sanity. Did he really paint these pieces? Are they forgeries or his own originals? Is he somehow having visions of the famous Spanish painter Diego Rodríguez de Silva Velázquez, who lived in the 17th century. Is he Velazquez? In the meantime, he is becoming deeply involved with some notorious people who don’t want to give Wilmot the answers he’s looking for. Soon, the lines between illusions, hallucinations, and realities have disappeared, and Wilmot struggles to find the truth about himself and his art.
I really enjoyed this novel, much more than I did the disappointing The Book of Air and Shadows also by Michael Gruber. The Forgery of Venus works best when it causes the reader to crave the truth while also instilling in them a fear of learning the truth. I loved the psychological aspects of Wilmot’s descent (or was it his ascent?). What first seems so simple becomes convoluted to the point where the reader no longer knows what to believe or who to trust. A great, exciting book!
Check out my review of The Book of Air and Shadows by Michael Gruber.