Still Lives: Book summary and reviews of Still Lives by Maria Hummel

Still Lives

by Maria Hummel

Still Lives by Maria Hummel X
Still Lives by Maria Hummel
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  • Published in USA  Jun 2018
    288 pages
    Genre: Mysteries

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Book Summary

Set against a culture that often fetishizes violence, Still Lives is a page-turning exodus into the art world's hall of mirrors, and one woman's journey into the belly of an industry flooded with money and secrets.

Kim Lord is an avant-garde figure, feminist icon, and agent provocateur in the L.A. art scene. Her groundbreaking new exhibition Still Lives is comprised of self-portraits depicting herself as famous, murdered women - the Black Dahlia, Chandra Levy, Nicole Brown Simpson, among many others - and the works are as compelling as they are disturbing, implicating a culture that is too accustomed to violence against women.

As the city's richest art patrons pour into the Rocque Museum's opening night, all the staff, including editor Maggie Richter, hope the event will be enough to save the historic institution's flailing finances.

Except Kim Lord never shows up to her own gala.

Fear mounts as the hours and days drag on and Lord remains missing. Suspicion falls on the up-and-coming gallerist Greg Shaw Ferguson, who happens to be Maggie's ex. A rogue's gallery of eccentric art world figures could also have motive for the act, and as Maggie gets drawn into her own investigation of Lord's disappearance, she'll come to suspect all of those closest to her.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Hummel builds visceral intimacy around 'women's oppressive anxiety about [their] ultimate vulnerability' in this often uncomfortable tale about the media's fetishistic fascination with the violent murders of beautiful women." - Publishers Weekly

"Hummel crafts a shrewd and suspenseful inquiry into womanhood and the dark side of the art market, punctuated by striking variations on identity, portraiture, and 'still lives.'" - Booklist

"With deliberate pacing increasing the tension, the story line revolving around the public's fascination with graphic crimes against women serves as a chilling reminder that such violence continues to occur in many forms." - Library Journal

"This is a whip-smart mystery and a moving meditation on the consumption of female bodies all rolled into one." - Kirkus

"Still Lives [is] at once profound and suspenseful, and while the plot kept me up nights (the ending had me gasping in surprise!), the book as a whole asks important questions about art and representation and how we, as a culture, objectify and endanger and victimize women." - Edan Lepucki, author of Woman No. 17 and the York Times bestselling California

"There's nothing I like better than a well-written page-turner about the art world...Flawed characters abound as do clever plots and subplots along with irresistible peeks into hidden chambers of the L.A. art scene. Riveting." - B.A. Shapiro, New York Times bestselling author of The Art Forger and The Muralist

"A gripping mystery set inside the world of contemporary art, Still Lives is the kind of book we all hope to stumble upon: the perfect combination of terrific prose and compelling storytelling. Maria Hummel has delivered the smartest, most original page-turner I've read in a long time." - Maggie Shipstead, author of Astonish Me and the New York Times bestselling Seating Arrangements

"While her protagonist investigates the disappearance of a major artist, Maria Hummel runs a shrewd parallel investigation into culture, gender, violence, and art. Still Lives is a propulsive, carefully crafted mystery with real thematic focus and heft." - Chris Bachelder, author of The Throwback Special, finalist for the National Book Award

"As gritty and glittering as the L.A. art world it depicts, Maria Hummel's latest novel soars into the sun-swept heights of fame and beauty, then plunges us into violence...Intelligent, vivid, and impeccably paced, this thrilling novel forces us to confront how dangerous art can be." - Kirstin Valdez Quade, author of Night at the Fiestas

"In Still Lives, Maria Hummel delivers not only a deftly plotted mystery, but also a rich and timely meditation on violence, authenticity, and the cool and deceptive exteriors of modern Los Angeles." - Jim Gavin, author of Middle Men

The information about Still Lives shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Author Information

Maria Hummel Author Biography

Photo: Melanie Abrams

Maria Hummel is the author of Still Lives; Motherland, an SF Chronicle Book of the Year; House and Fire; and Wilderness Run. Her fiction, nonfiction, and poetry have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, including Pushcart Prizes, Narrative, The Sun, and The Open Door: 100 Poems, 100 Years of Poetry Magazine.

She worked as a writer/editor at MOCA in Los Angeles, then received a Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University and taught there for many years. She is currently an assistant professor at the University of Vermont, and lives in Vermont with her husband and sons.

Link to Maria Hummel's Website

Other books by Maria Hummel at BookBrowse
  • Motherland jacket
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