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Alive in Shape and Color: 17 Paintings by Great Artists and the Stories They Inspired Hardcover – December 5, 2017
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“The fascinating premise has yielded some dark gems.”
- Publishers Weekly
“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]
“Several [stories] capture every hue, tint, and tone of what makes a story captivating. Over the past few years, Lee Child’s short fiction has become my favorite of his work, and ‘Pierre, Lucien, and Me’ is an example of why. ‘Charlie the Barber’ by Joe R. Lansdale is a hard- boiled, richly detailed and violent story. The anthology’s only reprint, David Morrell’s ‘Orange Is for Anguish, Blue for Insanity,’ is also my favorite.”
- Mystery Scene Magazine
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.
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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?
If you had to guess which artist upon whom Michael Connolly based his story, it would be easy for anyone familiar with his work to do so. For those of you who are not familiar with Connolly's fictional detective Harry Bosch, his name comes from the painter Hieronymous Bosch, and this story was inspired by Bosch's work "The Garden of Earthly Delights," (the third panel). This was my favorite story within-short, sharp and packing a punch.
Jeffrey Deaver also impressed me with his story inspired by prehistoric cave drawings at Lascaux. This clever little revenge tale takes place in the present and perhaps captures the intricacies and competition within the world of archaeology.
S.J. Rozan's story was inspired by "The Great Wave" by Hokusai. I was not previously familiar with Rozan or Hokusai, but now I feel compelled to learn more about them both. This tale was another gut puncher, but somehow I finished it feeling satisfied and happy for the protagonist.
Lastly, Joe Lansdale's tale was inspired by Norman Rockwell's "First Trip to the Beauty Shop." Even though the painting is perky and cute, the story is definitely not. It was sad, poignant, and scary-all at the same time. I enjoyed the heck out of it.
All told, that's 4 stories that impressed me a great deal. That's pretty good for any old anthology, but I expected so much more from this one, based on my experience with IN SUNLIGHT OR IN SHADOW. Perhaps it was a case of being disappointed by my own high expectations, or perhaps it's just that these tales didn't work as well for me as they did for other people. Whatever the case, I'm glad I read this anthology, otherwise I would have been wondering what I had missed.
*Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. This is it.*
Most recent customer reviews
This is one of the more unique themes I've ever read --- mystery...Read more