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The Great Man Paperback – May 13, 2008
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“The Great Man is as unexpectedly generous as it is entertaining. . . . Wise and expansive. . . . Christensen is a witty observer of the art universe.” —The New York Times “Christensen's writing is clear-eyed, muscular, bitingly funny, and supremely caustic about the niceties of social relations, contemporary American culture, and sexual politics.” —O, The Oprah Magazine “These characters are wonderfully developed and break the stereotype of the aging female protagonist. Christensen . . . boldly has raised the bar.” —USA Today "Nimble, witty and discerning, Kate Christensen is single-handedly reinvigorating the comedy of manners with her smart and disemboweling novels of misanthropes, cultural and aesthetic divides, private angst, social ambition and appetites run amok." —Chicago Tribune
About the Author
KATE CHRISTENSEN is the author of six previous novels, most recently The Astral. The Great Man won the 2008 PEN/Faulkner Award. She has published reviews and essays in numerous publications, most recently the New York Times Book Review, Bookforum, O, Elle, and Gilt Taste. She writes an occasional drinks column for The Wall Street Journal called "With a Twist." Her blog can be accessed at: http://katechristensen.wordpress.com. She lives in Portland, Maine.
Top customer reviews
When two biographers set out to capture the essence of Oscar Feldman, the theme of this book is immediately apparent; the impossibility of truly capturing the essence of a life. Often the finished work reveals more about the observer than the subject. Oscar and his art are chosen and Christensen does not shy away from exploring reasons and processes that determine how one artist's work becomes elevated over another.
This is an unlikely tale that explores who loves what, why and how. Oscar, the celebrated painter and ostensible center of the universe turns out to be far less fascinating than the many women who adore him. The women are complex, intriguing and old, which is interesting in itself. Some even have the temerity to actually enjoy sex, something I find refreshing, although at least one reviewer disagrees, reflecting society's distaste for the aging - especially women.
Christensen's sense of fun shows in her stylish prose, as does her obvious familiarity with the art scene. Her love of food and detailed settings provide the perfect backdrop for this many charactered, and complex tale. Somehow she manages to keep all these balls in the air, yet I never had to go back to situate myself. I'm looking forward to reading more of her work.
Additionally, the inclusion of the two men writing separate biographies of the great man add tremendously to the story. The obituary and the two reviews at the end act as book ends to the story and add to its unique style. Bravo Ms. Christenson.
Most recent customer reviews
The "great man" is dead, and the women with whom he was involved- mostly his wife, his...Read more