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The Forgery of Venus (Audio CD) (Unabridged)
The Forgery of Venus - Audio CD - Unabridged Author:Michael Gruber, Eric Conger (Narrator) Chaz Wilmot makes his living cranking out old-master parodies for ads and magazine covers. When he's offered a job restoring a Venetian palace fresco, he is at first, skeptical -- he immediately sees it is more a forgery than a restoration. But he is soon seduced by the challenge and throws himself into the work, doing the job brilliantly. — ... more »This feat attracts the attention of Werner Krebs, a shady art dealer who becomes Wilmot's friend and patron. Wilmot is suddenly working with a fervor he hasn't felt in years, but without warning, he finds himself reliving moments from his past -- not as memories but as if they are happening all over again. Soon, he believes he can travel back to the 17th century where he lived as the Spanish artist Diego Rodriguez de Silva Velazquez. Wilmot begins to fantasize that as Velazquez, he has created a masterpiece and when the painting actually turns up, he doesn't know if he painted it or if he imagined the whole thing.
Little by little, Wilmot enters a secret world of gangsters, greed and murder, with his mystery patron at the center of it all, either as the mastermind behind a plot to forge a painting worth hundred of millions, or as the man who will save Wilmot from obscurity and madness.
Suspending disbelief is easy with Michael Gruber's thoroughly engrossing novel. Artist Chaz Wilmot has never lived up to his potential. He wastes his great talent doing commercial hackwork to survive. After agreeing to participate in a drug study investigating the source of creativity, Wilmot's reality suffers a seismic shift. Eric Conger gives voice to Wilmot as he slips between his life in the 21st century and his life as the Spanish painter Diego Velazquez. Is Wilmot/Velazquez painting the soon-to-be priceless nude, or is he hallucinating as he commits forgery? Conger's performance highlights Wilmot's anguish, disorientation, and uncertainty. VENUS will appeal to listeners who enjoy a little art history, a little mystery, a literate and entertaining bit of imagination, and a smart narration.
I will definitely be reading more of Michael Gruber's books! This had a fascinating plot and wonderful characters, even the villain (the guy who commissions the forgery) is interesting and has a lot of depth. The only negative thing I can say is that you might want to have your Art History book handy. There were a lot of references that went over my head. For a book about pictures, I think it needs, well, pictures. But the story and the writing were splendid!