Read my entire feminist critique of Steve Martin’s novel on Bookslut.
An Object of Beauty, Steve Martin’s latest novel about New York City’s art collecting scene begins in the early ’90s, and rapidly moves to 2010: Christie’s, Sotheby’s, downtown parties, and uptown apartments. Martin’s protagonist, the ambitious and savvy Lacey Yeager, arrives in New York, originally from Atlanta, with a penchant for art history. But from the beginning, Martin establishes that Lacey is not to be confused with other precious, fresh-faced 23-year-olds. Lacey is as aware of her beauty as she is of a Cezanne, and often uses her understanding of both to her professional advantage. She accepts a position as Sotheby’s, selling art by commission, and ascends her social climb from there, meeting everyone worth knowing and eventually developing a taste for “objects of beauty.” Lacey parlays her commissions into her own budding art collection, purchasing a small Andy Warhol before the value skyrockets some years later.
Tags: An Object of Beauty: A Novel, Bookslut, commercial fiction, female characters, female protagonist, Manhattan, new york city, sexism, Steve Martin, the male gaze, writing
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