Arrogance

Joanna Scott, Author Simon & Schuster $18.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-671-69547-7
Based on the short and troubled life of expressionist painter Egon Schiele (1890-1918), Scott's ambitious novel examines the artistic imperative and its obsessive nature, the power of social conventions and fabric of life in Vienna at the turn of the century. Weaving her story around Schiele's 24-day stay in a village jail on charges of seducing the young girls who modeled for his unrestrained sketches, Scott ( Fading , My Parmacheneok Belle ) develops assorted narrative threads. The strongest of these tell of Vallie Neuzil, Schiele's sweets-loving, uninhibited mistress whom he abandons to marry the conventional Edith Harms, and, in first-person, of one of the girls from the village, whose life and memories continue nearly to the present. Scott's intricate approach to her subject(s) is fully imagined and authoritatively handled, yet the novel is finally cool and somehow hollow, more like an innovative treatise on impulse, pain and love than a story of flesh-and-blood people whose suffering and triumphs matter. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/01/1990
Release date: 07/01/1990
Paperback - 978-0-393-30792-4
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