Bookworm (Oshkosh, WI)
A not quite perfect story
Overall I enjoyed this book, but I was disappointed with the last quarter of it. My attention was immediately captured and drawn into the stories of Elm and Gabriel and I enjoyed the "insider's" look at the world of fine art. However, I expected there to be a better intertwining of the two main characters' lives and actions and felt that the ending was very dissatisfying. The author's level of detail and the complexity of the characters' emotions and motivations noticeably dwindled as the story came to a close - it almost seemed that she ran out of ideas and was in a hurry to finish the book. The moral and ethical questions raised in the plot would make this a good book for a group to discuss.
Julie M. (Minnetonka, MN)
No replacement for the real thing
The story alternates between a woman going to extreme measures to recapture her past and an artist using his past to create the present he wishes he was living. Both discover what seemed so important and what they thought was the only thing that could bring them happiness was the very thing that was keeping them from being happy. People, like works of great art, are originals and can only be themselves and cannot be replicated or replaced no matter how one might try to manipulate circumstances and nature.
Bess W. (Marlton, NJ)
A Nearly Pefect Copy
Elm and Gabriel, the two main characters, are far from perfect, not even nearly perfect. They are both interested only in themselves and never consider who they will harm as they pursue their goals. Lives are destroyed because of their selfishness
My favorite aspects of the book are how much I learned about the art world and how auction houses work. This is the part I enjoyed. Although the characters are well developed, I was not fond of the theme of the book.
Amy F. (West Roxbury, MA)
A Nearly Perfect Copy by Allison Amend
Though I really did not like either Elm, who works at Tinsley's auction house, or Gabriel, the long struggling artist, I did like how the book switched back and forth between their stories. I must say that I found Elm's story fairly unbelivable. I can imagine the unbearable pain and grief of losing a child, but cloning that child just feels too far out as an acceptable answer. Gabrial's story felt more "true" to me. I did like the insights into the art world. While overall I felt like this was a mixed bag, it did keep me reading.
Catharine L. (Petoskey, MI)
Almost a 5
This novel is so different from what I normally read. I know very little about the art world and found myself googling the works of different artists. The events are show through the eyes of Elm, a woman with a loving family and a great career at the Tinsley auction house, and a talented artist Gabriel Connois who hasn't "made" it yet. They both want something - Elm, her young son Ronan, lost in the Thailand tsunami; Gabriel - recognition and money.
Both decide that the end justifies the means: Elm accepts paintings that are forgeries and Gabriel paints them. Elm is able to clone her son but loses her job and husband Colin. The one part that wasn't that believable was the money issue. Both Elm and Colin work to support their family, and yet, Elm manages to pay $250,000 for the cloning by deleting their savings, her 401K, selling forgeries, and Colin had no clue. Even though, I really did not like Elm or Colin, the author describes their thought and feelings so well, I could understand their choices.
Beverly D. (Palm Harbor, FL)
Not even Nearly Perfect.
Art world, cloning, perfect copies....of art works and humans???? I couldn't relate at all to the plot, nor the characters. The writing was less than enticing,"Gabriel had a quick flash of reverie being in Lise's all-white apartment, children hanging off him like rats in some horror movie." "we don't get to decide what children we have or what children get taken from us. I wanted a baby not a science experiment".... Definitely not for me.
Charlene M. (Murrells Inlet, SC)
A Nearly Perefct Copy
"A Nearly Perfect Copy" by Allison Amend is a fascinating character study about two self-centered people, Elm & Gabriel, trying to cope in the worlds they created. It's a story about profound loss, art forgers and forgeries, cloning & how two unrelated people stories are intertwined. And a tour of the art world from the Paris art community to the auction houses of New York. From the very first page you'll be hooked.