*Starred Review* Art critic Daniel Lichtmann staked his career on an enigmatic Native American artist named Benjamin Wind, until Benjamin and Daniel’s wife, Aleksandra, a Russian Jew and intrepid photographer, fall to their deaths from the roof of Wind’s New York studio. Were they lovers? Did they make a suicide pact? Faced with this double jeopardy of grief and mystery, Daniel is impelled to search out the truth, a quest that unfolds in a double plot. Winer (The Color Midnight Made, 2002) follows Daniel on one track; on the other, he takes readers to Vienna circa 1928, where Josef, the son of assimilated Jews and a boy of prodigious artistic gifts, is put to work by his rascally grandfather painting illuminated ketubot, or marriage contracts. Cruel ironies accrue when Josef’s adoring friend Max arranges for the charismatic “marriage artist” to marry Hannah as part of a plan to escape the Nazi terror. As the two story lines converge, readers discern the central secret long before it’s revealed, and Winer’s prose flickers between ravishing and contrived. Yet structural flaws do not diminish the audacity and beauty of this elaborate psycho-political-sexual puzzle, with its hard truths, startling visions, and eerie insights into the mystical and memorializing powers of art, and that endless hunger we call love. --Donna Seaman
"Powerful . . . ambitious . . . audacious."
—Publishers Weekly (Starred review)
"A tour de force of provocative ideas . . . expressed through emotionally riveting characters."
—Kirkus Reviews (Starred review)
"Andrew Winer is a formidable writer. He has erected an amazing Tower of Babel, a tower of history, love, marriage and art, Europe and America. In Winer's building, though, there is no confusion of languages—or only to the extent that it can fuel the masterful plot. This novel is a page-turner with a deeper meaning, a very rare amalgam indeed."
—Adam Zagajewski, author of Eternal Enemies and A Defense of Ardor
"In this intricate and far-ranging novel, Andrew Winer writes brilliantly about art and love, history, debts that can and can't be paid, fatherhood in all its guises, the importance of bearing witness, the fragile border between mortality and immortality, the speakable and the unspeakable. The Marriage Artist weaves together the lives of characters, past and present, with consummate skill, and the result is an utterly absorbing and profound novel."
—Margot Livesey, author of The House on Fortune Street
"A powerful intellect, fearless emotion, and gift for provocative metaphorical narrative, all drive this sweeping, unflaggingly intense novel. The Marriage Artist takes on big themes—love, death, faith, history—with a riveting mix of seriousness and enchantment."
—Francisco Goldman, author of The Divine Husband
"Winer creates complex characters by sketching compelling portraits. . . The result is a story that is engrossing and haunting." —abcnews.com
See all Editorial Reviews
“Unforgettable . . . evocative . . . lyrical . . . The Marriage Artist gives us a reason to celebrate.” —Bookpage
“ [a] fearless examination of sexual power, love. . . hatred between fathers and sons, maternal instinct [and] grief. . . .” – The Rumpus
“. . . a mystery, a romance and a ghost story, and the author is adept at weaving all of these narrative threads into a single compelling tale.” – The Jewish Journal
“. . . breath-bating . . . a high-minded fusion of dark anti-love story and ethnographic detective fiction.” – The Boston Globe
“An intense and complex examination of love. . . . a mystery that raises the question of how memory, identity and love are entangled.” – Star Tribune