- Pre-order Price Guarantee! Order now and if the Amazon.com price decreases between your order time and the end of the day of the release date, you'll receive the lowest price. Here's how (restrictions apply)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Alive in Shape and Color: 17 Paintings by Great Artists and the Stories They Inspired Hardcover – December 5, 2017
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Special offers and product promotions
“An imaginative collection bristling with surprises. Block has masterminded another delectably provocative union of art and suspense.”
“If a picture is worth a thousand words, any of Edward Hopper’s paintings of American loneliness is worth an entire short story. Ekphrasis―seeing a story in a picture―was seldom so much fun.”
- Michael Dirda, Washington Post [Praise for Lawrence Block's In Sunlight Or In Shadow]
This absolutely superb anthology starts out with two advantages: a true legend at the helm in crime writer Lawrence Block, and a fascinating concept. Every story is superlative. Hopper, America’s great mournful lyric realist, deserves a tribute of this grace and sensitivity.”
- USA Today, 4 out of 4 stars [Praise for Lawrence Block's In Sunlight Or In Shadow]
“For anyone who has puzzled over the vividly evocative works of the beloved Edward Hopper, this little volume is the perfect gift. Short stories by 17 writers dramatically start where the paintings leave off.”
- San Francisco Chronicle [Praise for Lawrence Block's In Sunlight Or In Shadow]
About the Author
Lawrence Block has been writing award-winning mystery and suspense fiction for half a century. His newest book is The Girl with the Deep Blue Eyes. His other recent novels include The Burglar Who Counted The Spoons, Hit Me, and A Drop Of The Hard Stuff, featuring Matthew Scudder. He's well known for his books for writers, including the classic Telling Lies For Fun & Profit and Write For Your Life, and he has recently published The Crime of Our Lives, a collection of his writings about the mystery genre and its practitioners.
Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
Browse award-winning titles. See more
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The best stories are good by any standard. In Gail Levin’s “After Georgia O’Keefe’s Flower,” the artist is faced with an over-confident, ardently feminist interviewer who makes the mistake of pigeonholing O’Keefe as a woman artist rather than as an artist, period. David Morell’s “Orange Is for Anguish, Blue for Insanity” riffs on Van Gogh’s insanity in a noir story that rides on the edge of H. P. Lovecraft country. Joyce Carol Oates’s “Les Beaux Jours” is a close to perfect piece of writing –think The Story of O for a barely teenage ingénue. Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s “Thinkers” riffs on a piece of history: the Rodin statue of the Thinker outside the Cleveland Museum of Art was damaged by bombs placed there by student radicals in 1970 –where are those rebels now, and what have they become? None of the stories in this collection are bad, most are good, and the best are quite good. What else could you want?
In some cases the painting is an important part of the story, as in Michael Connelly’s contribution, The Third Panel. Hieronymus Bosch’s masterpiece, The Garden of Earthly Delights, has three panels. The third panel is one of the most extraordinary paintings in Western Art. It depicts the horrors of hell. Connelly uses various parts of this painting in his story of Los Angeles police detectives who are trying to solve a ghastly murder of criminals operating a factory making the drug methamphetamine. The painting holds clues to the people responsible for the murders in the drug lab and our attention is called to various aspects of the painting. The entertainment value of the story is enhanced by the visual clues supplied in the painting.
In David Morrell’s award winning story, Orange is for Anguish, Blue for Insanity, we will need to study Van Gogh’s painting Cypresses to help us understand what happens to a New York City commercial artist who is trying to find out why his friend went mad while studying Van Gogh’s work. In Morrell’s story we are asked to pay close attention to the tiniest details in the Cypresses painting, for they hold clues to understanding the impact the painting had on the lives of the people who studied it carefully.
Alive in Shape and Color is Lawrence Blocks follow-up to his highly successful anthology of stories, In Sunlight or in Shadow, based on the paintings of Edward Hopper. Those readers of this review who enjoy viewing great art like Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights are in for a treat. Some of the paintings are wonderful and the stories they inspired in the writers included in the anthology are often entertaining.
Using great art in novels and stories is not new. For example, in The Night of the Generals by Hans Hellmut Kirst, one of the generals, Tanz, sees the self-portrait of Vincent Van Gogh (Vincent in Flames) in the Louvre and is astonished and mesmerized by it. Later Peter O’Toole will play the role of Tanz in the film version of the novel and we watch O’Toole as he experiences in his own mind and body Van Gogh’s suffering and anguish. As mentioned, David Morrell expands on this power of art to influence our thought and feelings in his story included in Block's anthology.
We have Lawrence Block to thank for inviting popular novelists like Lee Child and Joyce Carol Oates to let art be a springboard for their imagination. The results often make good reading and viewing.