Review: An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin

15 Dec

An Object of Beauty: A NovelMy rating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked up an advance copy of An Object of Beauty. I was enjoying it, but eventually put it down until I could buy a copy to read. Why? Because I felt I was missing out without the pictures.

This book is firmly rooted in the art world, and includes photos of some of the artwork mentioned. I don’t know enough about art to have more than the vaguest idea of anything but the biggest works. Seeing some of the art mentioned wasn’t necessary to follow the plot, but it did help to set the stage for the events in the book.

Summary via

Lacey Yeager is young, captivating, and ambitious enough to take the NYC art world by storm. Groomed at Sotheby’s and hungry to keep climbing the social and career ladders put before her, Lacey charms men and women, old and young, rich and even richer with her magnetic charisma and liveliness. Her ascension to the highest tiers of the city parallel the soaring heights – and, at times, the dark lows – of the art world and the country from the late 1990s through today.

Lacey is a very interesting character. She’s young, beautiful, smart, and looking to make her mark on the art world. She’s almost amoral– she means no one harm, and genuinely likes many of the people around her, but if it doesn’t obviously hurt someone else, she’ll do what’s necessary to further her own cause. I won’t say that she’s a sympathetic character, but she’s an interesting one, and she never goes far enough across the line to turn me off.

Although Lacy has a college background in art, her real education comes while working at an auction house, and later at a gallery. The book is much more about the art world than the art it revolves around, and most of the talk of art is more about its relation to the people that surround it. I found it interesting to learn about both.

I found the structure of An Object of Beauty interesting. The story is narrated by Daniel, but it isn’t his story. Lacey is a good friend of his, but it isn’t always clear how he knows so much about her (although he does say at the beginning of the book that “imagination sometimes has to stand in for experience”). It’s occasionally distracting when Daniel does actually enter into the events of the book, but most of the time, it works.

An Object of Beauty isn’t like any other book I’ve read. It’s an interesting introduction to a world I wasn’t familiar with, and has an intriguing main character. These add up to an interesting read.

I picked up an advance copy of An Object of Beauty at BEA last spring (Thank you, Grand Central Publishing!), but ended up reading a copy I purchased myself.

1 Comment

Posted by on December 15, 2010 in books, reviews


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One response to “Review: An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin

  1. nomadreader (Carrie)

    December 17, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    I’m glad to know the ARC doesn’t include art. I have the ARC but now will get it from the library too. I was an art history major, so I hope I’d be familiar with some of it, but I’m such a visual person, I would to actually see it. I’m really looking forward to this read!


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