An artist falls from a ladder into a six year coma. His wife sells off his paintings to support herself and him – as she navigates the art world, the medical system, the eventual deluxe nursing home, waiting for him to die. I stuck with the novel because little details regarding life with a genius rung rather true.
Much of her day is filled with the agendas of a creepy dealer and a creepy best friend of the coma-artist, who is also an artist and player. In fact none of the art people are likable all. They are seen as mercenary because they aid her in the sale of the husband’s paintings, which are worth more and more as time passes. The almost-widow suffers every time she has to sell a work, valued at 50 grand a pop – of which there are hundreds, poor girl.
Things take an interesting turn when she finds revealing photographs. The comatose was no angel. She remembers the questions and doubts and his “authoritive artist voice” answers. I did not have a lot of sympathy for her though because she had no identity, outside of coke whore, before she met him. Great, she cleaned up - but he didn’t. He was the artist who painted whores and strippers and then of course fucked them, ever so necessary to his art. Original story in the history of art!
In just about every novel about artists I have read, dealers are made out to be vulgar or dumb, but I have found this to rarely be the case in the real world. It leads me to believe that the writers did not know any – or just liked easy, cheap shots. Except of course for The “Genius,” which featured a dream-dealer, telling the hero what a privilege it was to work for him…but this is fiction, I must remember.