“The Art Forger” by B.A. Shapiro

artforgerThis is a skilful, troubling book about art and the world of forgery. It is well-written by novelist B.A. Shapiro, who teaches fiction writing at Northeastern University and lives in Boston.

It tells the story of Claire Roth, a young artist living in Boston’s south end in a Bohemian area filled with other artists. She makes her living copying masterpieces which are sold, legally as reproductions. She also paints her own works, and is hoping to have a show.

She is visited one day by a well-known gallery owner who has a proposal concerning one of the painting stolen in 1990 in the notorious theft at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. This book delves into the fascinating world of forgery and Claire’s doubts and difficult decisions. One of the reviewers wonders whether we can feel the same beauty looking at a forged painting. It is altogether a very good book and reads like any mystery thriller with an unusually good grasp of its subject.

Review by Anne McDougall