The Museum of Modern Love
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The Museum of Modern Love

3.97 (5,353 ratings by Goodreads)
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'One of my stand-out Australian reads from 2016 . . . A glorious novel, meditative and special' Hannah Kent, author of BURIAL RITES

Arky Levin, a film composer in New York, has promised his wife that he will not visit her in hospital, where she is suffering in the final stages of a terminal illness. She wants to spare him a burden that would curtail his creativity, but the promise is tearing him apart. One day he finds his way to MOMA and sees Mariana Abramovic in The Artist is Present. The performance continues for seventy-five days and, as it unfolds, so does Arky. As he watches and meets other people drawn to the exhibit, he slowly starts to understand what might be missing in his life and what he must do.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 304 pages
  • 128 x 198 x 28mm | 282g
  • WEIDENFELD & NICOLSON
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1474611648
  • 9781474611640
  • 6,840

Review quote

Rose uses Levin to explore the profound ways in which art impacts life, grapples with questions about the purpose of art, and reveals the intense ways in which art and love and life intersect, and how that beautiful convergence is at the heart of what it means to be human * NYLON * A meditation on love and creativity. In an ambitious admix of real-life figures, memorable fictional characters, and a ghost(!) or two, Rose guides an exploration of how best to live and, with distinction, how art might assist ... Special kudos to the author for a pedantry-free examination of art's ability to change lives-and for this novel's tacit implications of the vanishing space between fact and fiction * NEW YORK JOURNAL OF BOOKS * Rose has woven a rich tapestry of plot and characters, among them a composer, a tourist, an art critic, a grad student and two incorporeals: a muse, who acts as omniscient narrator, and the ghost of Abramovic's mother. The result is an unusual and lively work of fiction * NEWSDAY * Through meditating on Abramovic's life and artwork, Rose's THE MUSUEM OF MODERN ART encapsulates the relationship between art and love, and its captivating effects on the lives of many * DAZED MAGAZINE * A light, easy novel, but it does shed insight into the mysterious Abramovic, her personal life, and her artistic vision, as well as the fictionalized characters whose struggles mirror everyday realities * VANITY FAIR * A reimagining of the circumstances surrounding ["The Artist is Present"]. Both thoughtful and moving, the story explores connection, hope and humanity * ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER * An engaging, multifaceted meditation on the meaning of life and art. Rose sets this exploration in the context of one man's compelling midlife search for direction as he observes Abramovic's fleeting art, which the novel intriguingly brings back to life. This is a brilliant find for any reader who enjoys grappling with the larger questions of life and literature, and it is an excellent choice for book clubs seeking thought-provoking discussion * BOOKPAGE * A deliciously inventive tale of the New York art scene, swirling with complex characters and connections, posing questions about how we should live, about art's ability to change our lives, and about the ways art changes the artists who create it -- B. A. Shapiro, author of THE COLLECTOR'S APPRENTICE Tremblingly earnest ... a bold proposition-Rose does not shy away from grappling with questions about the meaning and purpose of art ... The real power of the book, though, lies not in its philosophising but in the unsteady tenderness between its characters * KIRKUS * The narrator's voice gives the novel a quiet power, as if the universe was filled with a non-meddling benevolence. There's a cinematic quality too, with even minor figures sketched in with sure and affecting touches. THE MUSEUM OF MODERN LOVE is alive with the surprise and challenge of presence in many of its forms - it is a very generous book indeed. Images and storytelling have been intertwined since the first human beings gathered by a painted wall to tell tales in the firelight. Heather Rose's THE MUSEUM OF MODERN LOVE works with these ancient ghosts with exquisite care and intelligence. Positing grief and art as deep echoes that corroborate the transitory nature of our lives, Rose brings the reader to a place of acceptance despite the inevitable darkness. With rare subtlety and humanity, this novel relocates the difficult path to wonder in us all * The Christina Stead Prize 2017 * A moving book that invites the reader to revel and re-evaluate * BOOKTOPIA * THE MUSEUM OF MODERN LOVE is that rare and lovely thing: a novel of ideas that blooms into a persuasive illusion of real life . . . The lapidary brilliance of Rose's sentences is never overblown and her style is one of prescient, unflustered beauty * WEST WEEKEND MAGAZINE * Rose brings a skilled and at times almost mischievous artistry, not least in eff ecting narrative surprises that both disorient and persuade * SYDNEY REVIEW OF BOOKS * Beautiful and provocative, THE MUSEUM OF MODERN LOVE is an unforgettable story about life, love, and art's ability to transform both * BUSTLE * If Heather Rose's audacious and beautiful new novel were adapted for the stage, it would require a theatre-in-the-round treatment . . . That Rose's novel evokes such a vivid mental staging is a testament to her powers as a storyteller. One of the delightful surprises of THE MUSEUM OF MODERN LOVE is discovering that the all-knowing storyteller is not your distant, narrative god descended from Dickens and Austen, but an intimate voice, someone we all recognise from our own struggles and lives. Pondering the parameters of this storyteller turns out to be almost as tantalising in this book as mulling its deeper questions: What are we? What is art? How should we live? -- Dominic Smith, author of THE LAST PAINTING OF SARA DE VOS This captivating work explores the meaning of art in our lives and the ways in which it deepens our understanding of ourselves. As Hannah Rothschild did in The Improbability of Love, Australian author Rose also combines intriguing characters with a laser-sharp focus on art to produce a gem of a novel * LIBRARY JOURNAL, starred review * THE MUSEUM OF MODERN LOVE is more than just that rare treat, a book that requires something of the reader - it is a book that painstakingly prepares you for its own requirements. In a playful way, this bold new novel by Heather Rose is an astute meditation on art, bravery, friendship, love, how to live, and on dying -- Louise Swinn * THE AGE * Deeply involving . . . Profound . . . Emotionally rich and thought-provoking * BOOKLIST, starred review * Incisive, beautiful and precise, THE MUSUEM OF MODERN LOVE is a work of art in itself, a treatise on the shared threshold of devastation and beauty, the liminal and the eternal -- Letitia Montgomery-Rodgers * FOREWORD REVIEWS * Rose's clever, genre-bending hybrid of fact and fiction is an exploration of love and convergence . . . a portrait of human desire and human failing, but perhaps most profoundly, human striving for something greater than self. Rose's melancholy book resonates with emotion, touching on life's great dilemmas-death, vocation, love, art * PUBLISHERS WEEKLY * Framing a love story around a long-durational performance work, where the passage of time is essential, is a profoundly original idea. I loved this book -- Marina Abramovic One of my stand-out Australian reads from 2016 . . . A glorious novel, meditative and special -- Hannah Kent, author of BURIAL RITES Winner of the 2017 Stella Prize
Winner of the 2017 Margaret Scott Prize - Tasmanian Premier's Literary Prizes
Winner of the 2017 Christina Stead Prize for Fiction - NSW Premier's Literary Awards
Shortlisted for the 2017 Australian Literature Society Gold Medal
Shortlisted for the 2017 University of Queensland Fiction Book Award
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About Heather Rose

Heather Rose is the author of four novels, including White Heart, The Butterfly Man, The River Wife and The Museum of Modern Love, which won the Stella Prize 2017, the Margaret Scott Prize 2017 and the Christina Stead Award 2017, was shortlisted for the ALS Gold Medal 2017, and longlisted for the Dublin IMPAC Literary Award. Heather has also written three novels for children in the acclaimed Tuesday McGillycuddy series, published internationally under the pen-name of Angelica Banks with fellow author Danielle Wood. She lives in Tasmania.
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Rating details

5,353 ratings
3.97 out of 5 stars
5 34% (1,799)
4 40% (2,122)
3 19% (1,038)
2 6% (295)
1 2% (99)
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