I have always admired creative people, but if they also have been successful in diverse fields, then I have to admit I end up truly fascinated by them. I am talking about people like Steve Martin.
Martin is arguably more known as a comedian. As a matter of fact, he is considered a comedy legend thanks to his outstanding stand-up comedy shows in the 70’s, and his participation in films like The jerk, The father of the bride and The pink panther in the following couple of decades.
More recently, he also gained notoriety by his commercial and critical success as a musician –he is a proficient banjo player and a songwriter. Not only have his albums obtained good sales, but also he has won two Grammys.
If all of that wasn’t enough already, Steve Martin has proved to be a very good writer. He has written plays, novels that turn into films (Shopgirl) and more recently a couple of very well received books: Born standing up: A comic’s life, an inspiring and delightful memoir that touches on his beginnings in stand-up comedy; and An object of beauty, a novel that earned him praise from several remarkable people from the literary world. (A film adaptation of this novel is in the works.)
An object of beauty tells the story of Lacey Yager, a woman that makes her way into the fierce New York’s contemporary art scene. Lacey is smart, ambitious, attractive, and willing to do whatever it takes to “make it” in the Big Apple.
Martin is a devoted art collector, so you can sense that this creative endeavor pays tribute to his passion of admiring (and possessing) beautiful paintings. While reading this charming story, you get to obtain a lesson of contemporary art thanks to the mention of several artists and facts about some of their pieces by Daniel, an art writer who represents the other main character in the novel.
This work of fiction is also a fine portrait of New York’s exciting and intriguing art sphere. It depicts, offering details from an insider’s knowledge, the insights of the business of art in Manhattan.
One of Martin’s triumphs is its tone and pace –the overall language offers intimacy and its rhythm is certainly catchy. Asides the fact that it’s a short novel (less than 300 pages), it reads in a very pleasant way.
The construction of the character’s traits is also formidable. When you read this, you get a sense of how these people can be found within the art circles, even when you don’t have access to them.
An object of beauty is a well-achieved tale of ambition, and its foreseeable and inevitable consequences. Steve Martin proves out to be a master of description. I am absolutely sure that I will remember vividly many of the images he wrote in this book. Art is a passionate endeavor, and Martin has managed to craft a solid frame for these characters (and New York City) to be portrayed in.
My admiration towards Steve Martin has grown even larger after reading this enchanting book. After enjoying another of the many facets of his amazing creative talent, I can’t feel but inspired, and also compelled to recommending his work to you, hoping that you end as fulfilled as I am.