The Muralist
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The Muralist

3.74 (6,267 ratings by Goodreads)
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Alizee Benoit, an American painter working for the Works Progress Administration (WPA), vanishes in New York City in 1940 amid personal and political turmoil. No one knows what happened to her. Not her Jewish family living in German occupied France. Not her artistic patron and political compatriot, Eleanor Roosevelt. Not her close knit group of friends, including Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, and Lee Krasner. And, some seventy years later, not her great niece, Danielle Abrams, who while working at an auction house uncovers enigmatic paintings hidden behind recently found works by those now famous Abstract Expressionist artists. Do they hold answers to the questions surrounding her missing aunt? Entwining the lives of both historical and fictional characters, and moving between the past and the present, The Muralist plunges readers into the divisiveness of pre-war politics and the largely forgotten plight of European refugees refused entrance to the United States. It captures both the inner workings of today's New York art scene and the beginning of the vibrant and quintessentially American school of Abstract Expressionism. B. A. Shapiro is a master at telling a riveting story while exploring provocative themes. In Alizee and Danielle she has created two unforgettable women, artists both, who compel us to ask, What happens when luminous talent collides with inexorable historical forces? Does great art have the power to change the world? And to what lengths should a person go to thwart evil?show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 368 pages
  • 140 x 210 x 27.94mm | 385.55g
  • Algonquin Books (division of Workman)
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • Text only
  • 1616206438
  • 9781616206437
  • 295,241

Review quote

"B. A. Shapiro once again pens the art world into vivid, sensual life. Set during World War II and the dawn of Abstract Expressionism, "The Muralist" is an intriguing story masterfully imagined about art, war, family, truth, and freedom. If you liked "The Art Forger," you're going to love "The Muralist"!" --Lisa Genova, author of "Love, Anthony " "B. A. Shapiro's "The Muralist" is an expertly constructed, riveting tale of art, politics, love, and consequences in the Depression Era. I admire so much the way she vividly brings to life this passionate world of the past--it rings with originality and authenticity. What a compelling read!" --Jami Attenberg, author of "The Middlesteins " "I am a great fan of B. A. Shapiro, especially her new novel "The Muralist." It is a tantalizing mystery, as well as an involving meditation on the meaning of art over time." --Scott Turow, author of" Identical " "In "The Muralist," B. A. Shapiro weaves a spellbinding mystery, set at a historic moment of creation and annihilation--the creative ferment of the New York art world in the 1940s and the run-up to WWII. With a starry cast (Pollock, Rothko, de Kooning, Krasner, even Eleanor Roosevelt), fans of Shapiro's earlier art-mystery hit, "The Art Forger," will not be disappointed." --William Landay, author of "Defending Jacob" B. A. Shapiro once again pens the art world into vivid, sensual life. Set during World War II and the dawn of Abstract Expressionism, "The Muralist" is an intriguing story masterfully imagined about art, war, family, truth, and freedom. If you liked "The Art Forger," you're going to love "The Muralist"! Lisa Genova, author of "Still Alice" B. A. Shapiro's "The Muralist" is an expertly constructed, riveting tale of art, politics, love, and consequences in the Depression Era. I admire so much the way she vividly brings to life this passionate world of the past--it rings with originality and authenticity. What a compelling read! Jami Attenberg, author of "The Middlesteins " I am a great fan of B. A. Shapiro, especially her new novel "The Muralist." It is a tantalizing mystery, as well as an involving meditation on the meaning of art over time. Scott Turow, author of" Identical " In "The Muralist," B. A. Shapiro weaves a spellbinding mystery, set at a historic moment of creation and annihilation--the creative ferment of the New York art world in the 1940s and the run-up to WWII. With a starry cast (Pollock, Rothko, de Kooning, Krasner, even Eleanor Roosevelt), fans of Shapiro s earlier art-mystery hit, "The Art Forger," will not be disappointed. William Landay, author of "Defending Jacob"" Shapiro follows the enthusiastically received"The Art Forger"(2012) with an even more polished and resonant tale. [Her] novel of epic moral failings is riveting, gracefully romantic, and sharply revelatory; it is also tragic in its timeliness as the world faces new refugee crises. "Booklist"(starred review) B. A. Shapiro once again pens the art world into vivid, sensual life. Set during World War II and the dawn of Abstract Expressionism, "The Muralist" is an intriguing story masterfully imagined about art, war, family, truth, and freedom. If you liked "The Art Forger," you're going to love "The Muralist"! Lisa Genova, author of "Still Alice" B. A. Shapiro's "The Muralist" is an expertly constructed, riveting tale of art, politics, love, and consequences in the Depression Era. I admire so much the way she vividly brings to life this passionate world of the past--it rings with originality and authenticity. What a compelling read! Jami Attenberg, author of "The Middlesteins " I am a great fan of B. A. Shapiro, especially her new novel "The Muralist." It is a tantalizing mystery, as well as an involving meditation on the meaning of art over time. Scott Turow, author of" Identical " In "The Muralist," B. A. Shapiro weaves a spellbinding mystery, set at a historic moment of creation and annihilation--the creative ferment of the New York art world in the 1940s and the run-up to WWII. With a starry cast (Pollock, Rothko, de Kooning, Krasner, even Eleanor Roosevelt), fans of Shapiro s earlier art-mystery hit, "The Art Forger," will not be disappointed. William Landay, author of "Defending Jacob"" Shapiro s plotting is deft, and the anonymous paintings and Alizee s disappearance add mystery and intrigue to the tale. Like her well-received 2012 novel, The Art Forger, this new story takes us into the heart of what it means to be an artist. vibrant and suspenseful. As tens of thousands of modern-day asylum-seekers from the Middle East and Africa surge into Europe, and pictures of their mistreatment are broadcast around the world, The Muralist is a grim reminder that history continues to repeat itself. " The Washington Post" B.A. Shapiro captivated us in 2012 with her addictive novel "The Art Forger." Now, she s back with another thrilling tale from the art world, set right on the brink of World War II. " Entertainment Weekly" Shapiro follows the enthusiastically received"The Art Forger"(2012) with an even more polished and resonant tale. [Her] novel of epic moral failings is riveting, gracefully romantic, and sharply revelatory; it is also tragic in its timeliness as the world faces new refugee crises. " ""Booklist"(starred review) In "The Muralist," novelist B.A. Shapiro deftly layers American art history, the facts of World War II and the fictitious stories of Alizee and Dani. "The Muralist" is a compelling mystery. "The Muralist "elevates Shapiro to an even higher plane and is sure to be a crowning touch in an already celebrated career. " BookPage" In this noirish intrigue and fine-art detective story, Shapiro ably intersects the early years of the abstract expressionist movement, the Roosevelts, institutionalized anti-Semitism that denied American visas to Jewish refugees, the relentless run-up to World War II, and the generational losses of the Shoah. Mystery and historical fiction lovers will find this a riveting read. "Library Journal "(starred review) [Shapiro] knows how to craft a page-turner. "The Muralist" is certainly an engrossing tale. Perhaps it will also send a few readers to the Museum of Modern Art for a fresh look at the craft of Rothko, Pollock, and their contemporaries. That would be a wonderful, and very un-abstract, mingling of art and real life. " New York Journal of Books""" "The Muralist"is evocative of life creatively and fervently lived a poignant exploration of morality, resourcefulness and imagination. "Bookreporter.com" B. A. Shapiro once again pens the art world into vivid, sensual life. Set during World War II and the dawn of Abstract Expressionism, "The Muralist" is an intriguing story masterfully imagined about art, war, family, truth, and freedom. If you liked "The Art Forger," you're going to love "The Muralist"! Lisa Genova, author of "Still Alice" B. A. Shapiro's "The Muralist" is an expertly constructed, riveting tale of art, politics, love, and consequences in the Depression Era. I admire so much the way she vividly brings to life this passionate world of the past--it rings with originality and authenticity. What a compelling read! Jami Attenberg, author of "The Middlesteins " I am a great fan of B. A. Shapiro, especially her new novel "The Muralist." It is a tantalizing mystery, as well as an involving meditation on the meaning of art over time. Scott Turow, author of" Identical "" -B. A. Shapiro makes the radical, varied, and sometimes enigmatic world of abstract expressionism altogether human and accessible in her smart new historical thriller. ...It has more emotional ballast and is more skillfully written than what one customarily finds. The novel evokes the horror and sorrow of the Holocaust in just their tedious administrative tasks of retracing steps, of sifting through wreckage. Shapiro also does a wonderful job of restoring complexity to the historical moment and stripping away the clarity of retrospection.- --The Boston Globe -Shapiro's plotting is deft, and the anonymous paintings and Alizee's disappearance add mystery and intrigue to the tale. Like her well-received 2012 novel, -The Art Forger,- this new story takes us into the heart of what it means to be an artist. ...vibrant and suspenseful. As tens of thousands of modern-day asylum-seekers from the Middle East and Africa surge into Europe, and pictures of their mistreatment are broadcast around the world, -The Muralist- is a grim reminder that history continues to repeat itself.- --The Washington Post -B.A. Shapiro captivated us in 2012 with her -addictive- novel The Art Forger. Now, she's back with another thrilling tale from the art world, set right on the brink of World War II.- --Entertainment Weekly -The Muralist is, like What She Left Behind by Ellen Marie Wiseman or Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline, a historical novel that brings the 20th century to life...- --USA Today -Shapiro follows the enthusiastically received The Art Forger (2012) with an even more polished and resonant tale. [Her] novel of epic moral failings is riveting, gracefully romantic, and sharply revelatory; it is also tragic in its timeliness as the world faces new refugee crises.- --Booklist (starred review)-Shapiro's writing pulses with energy.... The Muralist brings the time period and setting to life. Readers will appreciate Shapiro's seamless integration of fact into the story and will feel immersed in a time when the world tipped into chaos. Art, history, and mystery -- an intriguing and satisfying blend.- --Washington Independent Review of Books-In The Muralist, novelist B.A. Shapiro deftly layers American art history, the facts of World War II and the fictitious stories of Alizee and Dani. ...The Muralist is a compelling mystery. ...The Muralist elevates Shapiro to an even higher plane and is sure to be a crowning touch in an already celebrated career.- --BookPage -In this noirish intrigue and fine-art detective story, Shapiro ably intersects the early years of the abstract expressionist movement, the Roosevelts, institutionalized anti-Semitism that denied American visas to Jewish refugees, the relentless run-up to World War II, and the generational losses of the Shoah. Mystery and historical fiction lovers...will find this a riveting read.- --Library Journal (starred review) -Engaging ... Shapiro convincingly portrays the work of the artist as an agent of expression and hope in a world of despair.- -- The New York Jewish Week-[Shapiro] knows how to craft a page-turner. The Muralist is certainly an engrossing tale. Perhaps it will also send a few readers to the Museum of Modern Art for a fresh look at the craft of Rothko, Pollock, and their contemporaries. That would be a wonderful, and very un-abstract, mingling of art and real life.- --New York Journal of Books "B. A. Shapiro makes the radical, varied, and sometimes enigmatic world of abstract expressionism altogether human and accessible in her smart new historical thriller. ...It has more emotional ballast and is more skillfully written than what one customarily finds. The novel evokes the horror and sorrow of the Holocaust in just their tedious administrative tasks of retracing steps, of sifting through wreckage. Shapiro also does a wonderful job of restoring complexity to the historical moment and stripping away the clarity of retrospection." --The Boston Globe "Shapiro's plotting is deft, and the anonymous paintings and Alizee's disappearance add mystery and intrigue to the tale. Like her well-received 2012 novel, "The Art Forger," this new story takes us into the heart of what it means to be an artist. ...vibrant and suspenseful. As tens of thousands of modern-day asylum-seekers from the Middle East and Africa surge into Europe, and pictures of their mistreatment are broadcast around the world, "The Muralist" is a grim reminder that history continues to repeat itself." --The Washington Post "B.A. Shapiro captivated us in 2012 with her "addictive" novel The Art Forger. Now, she's back with another thrilling tale from the art world, set right on the brink of World War II." --Entertainment Weekly "The Muralist is, like What She Left Behind by Ellen Marie Wiseman or Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline, a historical novel that brings the 20th century to life..." --USA Today "Shapiro follows the enthusiastically received The Art Forger (2012) with an even more polished and resonant tale. [Her] novel of epic moral failings is riveting, gracefully romantic, and sharply revelatory; it is also tragic in its timeliness as the world faces new refugee crises." --Booklist (starred review)"Shapiro's writing pulses with energy.... The Muralist brings the time period and setting to life. Readers will appreciate Shapiro's seamless integration of fact into the story and will feel immersed in a time when the world tipped into chaos. Art, history, and mystery -- an intriguing and satisfying blend." --Washington Independent Review of Books"In The Muralist, novelist B.A. Shapiro deftly layers American art history, the facts of World War II and the fictitious stories of Alizee and Dani. ...The Muralist is a compelling mystery. ...The Muralist elevates Shapiro to an even higher plane and is sure to be a crowning touch in an already celebrated career." --BookPage "In this noirish intrigue and fine-art detective story, Shapiro ably intersects the early years of the abstract expressionist movement, the Roosevelts, institutionalized anti-Semitism that denied American visas to Jewish refugees, the relentless run-up to World War II, and the generational losses of the Shoah. Mystery and historical fiction lovers...will find this a riveting read." --Library Journal (starred review) "Engaging ... Shapiro convincingly portrays the work of the artist as an agent of expression and hope in a world of despair." -- The New York Jewish Week"[Shapiro] knows how to craft a page-turner. The Muralist is certainly an engrossing tale. Perhaps it will also send a few readers to the Museum of Modern Art for a fresh look at the craft of Rothko, Pollock, and their contemporaries. That would be a wonderful, and very un-abstract, mingling of art and real life." --New York Journal of Books B. A. Shapiro makes the radical, varied, and sometimes enigmatic world of abstract expressionism altogether human and accessible in her smart new historical thriller. It has more emotional ballast and is more skillfully written than what one customarily finds. The novel evokes the horror and sorrow of the Holocaust in just their tedious administrative tasks of retracing steps, of sifting through wreckage. Shapiro also does a wonderful job of restoring complexity to the historical moment and stripping away the clarity of retrospection. The Boston Globe Shapiro s plotting is deft, and the anonymous paintings and Alizee s disappearance add mystery and intrigue to the tale. Like her well-received 2012 novel, The Art Forger, this new story takes us into the heart of what it means to be an artist. vibrant and suspenseful. As tens of thousands of modern-day asylum-seekers from the Middle East and Africa surge into Europe, and pictures of their mistreatment are broadcast around the world, The Muralist is a grim reminder that history continues to repeat itself. The Washington Post B.A. Shapiro captivated us in 2012 with her addictive novel The Art Forger. Now, she s back with another thrilling tale from the art world, set right on the brink of World War II. Entertainment Weekly The Muralistis, likeWhat She Left Behindby Ellen Marie Wiseman orOrphan Trainby Christina Baker Kline, a historical novel that brings the 20th century to life USAToday Shapiro follows the enthusiastically receivedThe Art Forger(2012) with an even more polished and resonant tale. [Her] novel of epic moral failings is riveting, gracefully romantic, and sharply revelatory; it is also tragic in its timeliness as the world faces new refugee crises. Booklist(starred review) Shapiro s writing pulses with energy . The Muralist brings the time period and setting to life. Readers will appreciate Shapiro s seamless integration of fact into the story and will feel immersed in a time when the world tipped into chaos. Art, history, and mystery an intriguing and satisfying blend. Washington Independent Review of Books In The Muralist, novelist B.A. Shapiro deftly layers American art history, the facts of World War II and the fictitious stories of Alizee and Dani. The Muralist is a compelling mystery. The Muralist elevates Shapiro to an even higher plane and is sure to be a crowning touch in an already celebrated career. BookPage In this noirish intrigue and fine-art detective story, Shapiro ably intersects the early years of the abstract expressionist movement, the Roosevelts, institutionalized anti-Semitism that denied American visas to Jewish refugees, the relentless run-up to World War II, and the generational losses of the Shoah. Mystery and historical fiction lovers will find this a riveting read. Library Journal (starred review) Engaging Shapiro convincingly portrays the work of the artist as an agent of expression and hope in a world of despair. The New York Jewish Week [Shapiro] knows how to craft a page-turner. The Muralist is certainly an engrossing tale. Perhaps it will also send a few readers to the Museum of Modern Art for a fresh look at the craft of Rothko, Pollock, and their contemporaries. That would be a wonderful, and very un-abstract, mingling of art and real life. New York Journal of Books "show more

Back cover copy

"B. A. Shapiro captivated us in 2012 with her 'addictive' novel The Art Forger. Now, she's back with another thrilling tale from the art world." --Entertainment Weekly When Alizee Benoit, an American painter working for the Works Progress Administration (WPA), vanishes in New York City in 1940, no one knows what happened to her. Not her Jewish family living in German-occupied France. Not her artistic patron and political compatriot, Eleanor Roosevelt. Not her close-knit group of friends, including Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, and Lee Krasner. And, some seventy years later, not her great-niece, Danielle Abrams, who while working at Christie's auction house uncovers enigmatic paintings hidden behind works by those now-famous Abstract Expressionist artists. Do they hold answers to the questions surrounding her missing aunt? "Reminiscent, in the best way, of Michael Chabon's Pulitzer Prize winner, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, and the way that novel considered artists--both the great power of their grand statements and the often heartbreaking futility of same." --The Boston Globe "Noirish intrigue and [a] fine-art detective story." --Library Journal, starred review "Riveting, gracefully romantic, and sharply revelatory." --Booklist, starred review "The Muralist is, like What She Left Behind by Ellen Marie Wiseman or Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline, a historical novel that brings the 20th century to life." --USA Today "Barbara Shapiro once again pens the art world into vivid, sensual life. Set during World War II and the dawn of Abstract Expressionism, TheMuralist is an intriguing story masterfully imagined about art, war, family, truth, and freedom. If you liked The Art Forger, you're going to love The Muralist!" --Lisa Genova, New York Times bestselling author of Still Aliceshow more

About B. A. Shapiro

B. A. Shapiro is the author of the award-winning New York Times bestseller The Art Forger. She has taught sociology at Tufts University and creative writing at Northeastern University and lives in Boston with her husband, Dan, and their dog, Sagan. Her website is www.bashapirobooks.com.show more

Rating details

6,267 ratings
3.74 out of 5 stars
5 22% (1,374)
4 42% (2,603)
3 28% (1,731)
2 7% (426)
1 2% (133)
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