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Melinda H. (Midlothian, VA)
A Nearly Perfect Copy
I read this book because I am fascinated by the art world and its many facets; however, very quickly, I found myself caught off guard by the dichotomy found within the walls of the story. I found the parallels to be a fascinating ride sweeping me through the pages of this well thought out story. It is an interesting, intelligent, thought provoking novel that reaches far beyond the art world. Much like Jodi Piccoult, Allison Amend makes you consider your stance on timely, moral issues. If you are interested in the art world, or the medical field, you will find this a great addition to your 'to read' shelf.
Dee H. (Greenfield, CA)
Ethical vs. Unethical: A Slippery Slope
The pace of this book is very languid, and I put it down a couple of times. However, the dilemmas encountered by the protagonists kept drawing me back to read further to see what choices they made. I have always been fascinated by the "art world", and this book gives a bit of insight into the authentication process, and the angst of artists who don't quite make the grade on their own merits. I can't say too much about the conflicts encountered here without giving away the plot, but suffice it to say this book is well worth the effort to read. I do recommend it to art aficionados and others wanting to understand how the lines between ethical and unethical behavior can become seriously blurred.
Teresa M. (Naples, FL)
A Tale of Two Copies
Having recently read "The Art Forger," I wanted to see how this book might be different, and it certainly was. "A Nearly Perfect Copy" not only refers to art forgery, but also to forging people (cloning), a subject I knew little about.
Mary D. (Claremont, CA)
A Nearly Perfect Copy
How the two forgeries meld together was an interesting concept. Elm is an expert in 17th-19th century drawings, and lost her oldest child in the tsunami. Unable to get over his death, she is presented with an opportunity to recreate her beloved child. Can she resist?
Gabriel a 40-something struggling painter in Paris has never made it professionally and is presented with an opportunity to achieve wealth, fame and success by forging his great- grandfather's priceless paintings.
Both characters are presented with moral dilemmas that test their ethics, financial security and family life. I thoroughly enjoyed it!
While I did enjoy this book, there were several aspects of disappointment. If you are looking for a book that delves into the world of forged paintings, intrigue and art history, this is not the book. If you are looking for a book that deals with the choices to be made in life, the potential outcomes of "prostituting" one's artistic soul for monetary gain, then this would be the book for you! The characters are well drawn and are interesting people, for all their flaws; some of the "minor" characters are downright intriguing and I would have liked to learn more about them. The writing style was relatively easy to follow. Each chapter/section dealt with one of the two major characters, but the transitions were quite easy to follow and didn't distract from the reading rhythm.
John W. (Saint Louis, MO)
Is Cloning the Same as Art Forgery?
I loved the plot of "A Nearly Perfect Copy" and the writer's ability to keep the reader guessing what lay ahead for the two main characters. If you prefer books where you fall in love with one of the main characters, forget this book – Elm and Gabriel are not likeable. The author is able to craft a story where the reader is able to understand and empathize with the two main characters. It is easy to see how the characters have become their own worst enemy.
Gail G. (Northbrook, IL)
A Nearly Perfect Copy by Allison Amend
"A Nearly Perfect Copy" did get me thinking about the value of striving for perfection and the lengths some people are willing to go in an attempt to achieve it. It is an interesting study of ethics and values.
Story well written and easy to read with lots of art information but I found myself disliking the main characters Elmira Howell and Gabriel Connais, who seemed to get through life on their ancestor's coattails.
Viqui G. (State College, PA)
A Nearly Perfect Novel
Both characters involved in illegal activities which leads them to bad behavior choices. Elm's behavior is governed by loss of her son to the extent that she no longer works well and can't focus on the activities which are most important to her life, job, husband, daughter.
Gabriel can't paint anything really original, the only good thing he can do is turn out work that looks like his ancestor's.
The demons the characters face are real but I do not have enough sympathy with which to emphasize with their problems.
I found the book slow reading and not particularly enjoyable.
In this novel I learned a great deal about art: art auctions, art purchasing and art forgery. The subject was fascinating and a topic I had never read about. Even more fascinating were the 2 troubled main characters, Elm and Gabriel. The author filled out details about their past and present lives with such insight that the reader could understand why these characters made choices that compromised their ethics. These characters, however, learned that ignoring their moral compass caused irreparable changes to their professional and personal lives.
Vivian H. (Winchester, VA)
An Interesting Study of the Human Condition
This novel would appeal to an adult reader that likes character driven novels. The details in the novel about art production and dealing was somewhat tedious and the novel might profit from some editing. However, I think this would make an interesting book for a book club discussion.
"A Nearly Perfect Copy" kept me interested from the first page. I read it in two days and felt a bit of loss when I finished. That is the sign of a very readable book.
This novel involves two overlapping stories. One revolves around the torment of a New York City art expert, Elm Howells, from the lesser branch of the founders of the auction house that employs her. Elm is still reeling from the tragic loss of her young son. Her inconsolable grief has caused estrangement in her marriage, a loss of passion in her work and a complete inability to move forward. When she learns some acquaintances of her husband have decided to clone their beloved dog, Elm is at first horrified and then fascinated. What if….?
Meanwhile, across the pond in Paris, unsuccessful artist Gabriel Connois struggles with his inability to make a splash within the Parisian art scene. He is the descendent of a pseudo famous Spanish artist and developed an uncanny ability to replicate his more illustrious ancestor's work. He has his own vision; however, after meeting a woman of more extravagant tastes than his bank account can handle, he is offered an opportunity to earn some money – the old fashioned way – forgery.
I appreciated this book as a study of the human condition, of moral ambivalence, of seeking justification for our actions, and then trying to live with the decisions made. This is in part a tragedy involving regret, self-flagellation, insecurity, fear, and loss of self. It is in part a morality play. While I can't say I liked any of the main characters, I did feel empathy. I could understand the temptations.
While I found the book at times over-plotted, I liked the book. And when I'm reading fiction and it transports me to another place, it is okay if I'm asked to suspend believe with regard to coincidences. That being said, I work in a field where I often see that truth is stranger than fiction. So, who know