cover image In the Full Light of the Sun

In the Full Light of the Sun

Clare Clark. HMH, $27 (432p) ISBN 978-0-544-14757-7

Clark (We That Are Left) dives into the lives of three Germans involved in a Van Gogh forgery scandal in this enjoyable tale. Each of the characters is involved in aiding and abetting Matthias Rachmann, a charming but inscrutable art dealer whose impressive collection of van Gogh works has given him given him financial security and prestige amid the hyperinflation and turmoil of Weimar-era Berlin. As art experts and reporters begin to question the veracity of Rachmann’s paintings, the motives of his friends and acquaintances also come under scrutiny. One of Rachmann’s most powerful supporters is Julius, an aging art expert whose knack for identifying forgeries gives him unparalleled sway in the Berlin art scene. Julius’s young charge, Emmeline, is a graduate of the Berlin Academy of Art—her considerable artistic talent and personal volatility lend themselves well to Rachmann’s schemes. And Frank, Rachmann’s Jewish lawyer, ties the scheme together as his professional and personal life are increasingly threatened by the rise of Nazism. Based on a real-life forgery scandal, the novel is infused with Clark’s signature attention to historical detail. While van Gogh’s paintings and the question of artistic veracity provide a nice narrative framework, the core of the story is the bonds and delusions that form between Julius, Emmeline, and Frank. Evocative prose and excellent pacing make this fine historical a must-read for art history buffs. [em](July) [/em]