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Burnt Orange Heresy Mass Market Paperback – December 20, 1999


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Carroll & Graf (December 20, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786706686
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786706686
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,567,575 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

This book is more a commentary on modern art and its adherents.
S. McHale
Some of the plot seems a bit far-fetched, but Williford writes so skillfully that the book withstands this flaw beautifully.
Westley
Best known for his Hoke Moseley novels, Willeford was also a painter.
Orrin C. Judd

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Orrin C. Judd VINE VOICE on February 4, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Best known for his Hoke Moseley novels, Willeford was also a painter. Here he brings the art world to a crime novel and renders a work that is sort of Crime and Punishment as rewritten by James M. Cain and Tom Wolfe.
James Figueras is a low rent art critic. He's wangled a posting to Palm Beach but he's saddled with dim prospects and an annoying girlfriend, Berenice Hollis. He's on the lookout for his one big break and it comes when he receives information that one of the most influential, but enigmatic, artists of the Twentieth Century has moved to Florida. A big collector offers to tell him where to find the artist, Jacques Debierue, if he'll steal one of the artist's works in exchange for the information.
In addition to a deftly rendered crime novel, Willeford proceeds to treat us to a devastatingly funny send up of Modern Art and the pseudo-intellectual theories that spawned it.
A hoot.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Westley VINE VOICE on October 13, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
James Figueras is a talented and ambitious Miami art critic who has been slowly working his way toward the top of his field. He's always on the lookout for opportunities for advancement, although he likes to consider himself a basically honest professional. One night at an art gallery opening, he gets a shocking proposal from a mysterious lawyer, Joseph Cassidy. Cassidy has managed to gain the acquaintance of a legendary French painter, Jacques Debierue, who is so reclusive that his work hasn't been seen in decades. Interviewing Debierue would be a major, career-defining coup for Figueras, and he's prepared to do anything to get the information from Cassidy. However, when he hears Cassidy's proposal, Figueras has his doubts....
Many of Charles Williford's novels have gone out of print, which is unfortunate as his writing stands with the best noir writers. The Burnt Orange Heresy is a mean read, with shocks and twists galore. Some of the plot seems a bit far-fetched, but Williford writes so skillfully that the book withstands this flaw beautifully. Williford also has a real eye for detail and takes great advantage of the Miami and Florida settings. Overall, I highly recommended this novel, especially for fans of noir writers (e.g., Chandler, Jim Thompson).
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 5, 1998
Format: Paperback
"The Burnt Orange Heresy" is Willeford's most fascinating work; the fact that it's out of print is a real pity.
In this novel about a corrupt Miami art critic who favors menthol cigarettes, pegged trousers, and buxom blondes, and who talks about his career as his "racket," Willeford expands the traditional limits of crime writing. There are some very amusing asides about art and art history -- subjects the author knew well, having been a failed painter himself -- and the psychological suspense remains taut throughout, even if the killing itself seems a little far-fetched. Even so, the invention of an expatriate French surrealist living in the Everglades is a bold move for a writer known for a noir palette.
Please reprint this book!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Stefan Herpel on August 3, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In this short novel, Willeford mercilessly satirizes the contemporary art scene, and succeeds in deflating the pretensions of a certain type of artist and the bombastic critical establishment that supports his or her "art." Intermixed with Willeford's dry but devastating satire is a kind of gritty portrayal of the main character, an American art critic and near-psychopath named James Figueras. To enjoy the book, you will probably have to simultaneously like Willeford's focus on the seamier side of life, and regard much of contemporary art and its critics as deserving of being lampooned.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By "mrjeff3000" on August 22, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Not just another of Willeford's highly acidic novels observing human nature, The Burnt Orange Heresy is also a brilliant send-up of modern art -- in fact it brings up several questions about the nature of art itself. I am always happy when some poor misguided publisher tries to rerelease vintage Willeford material. You've gotta buy this book. Really.
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By Gordon Comstock on October 28, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
deep within the text there is a paragraph that describes the French artist's delusion about frozen vegetables reigning supreme over fresh. that graph is priceless. also the recurring descriptions of our hero's wisconsin girlfriend is downright salacious and seductive. true, the leadin to the action is somewhat longwinded, but given that the novella takes roughly 2 hours to read negates that silly objection. ultimately, i'd recommend this pile of words for the fact that our dear writer selects valdosta, GA as a key location in the narrative. it ain't often one uses that locale, and for that i must pass this read along to friends.
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By SandySTC on September 18, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I found this book quite enjoyable. The main character is not likable, but he is interesting. His girl is (to me) irritating. But that makes the whole thing a good read. After all, if we wanted happy, we'd read something else.

Some call Willeford's writing dry, but I find it clean, refreshing and subtle at times without being dry or dull.

If you like any type of noir, I would definitely give this a shot.
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