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Steve Martin departs from his usual hilarity with ‘An Object of Beauty’

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Steve Martin takes a break from humor with An Object of Beauty.

Steve Martin’s novellas, Shopgirl and The Pleasure of My Company, were departures for the otherwise wacky comedian … but not total departures. In them, Martin blended mild wackiness into stories about unlikely heroes emerging from their shells to achieve modest triumphs. Martin’s new novel, An Object of Beauty, is a total departure—light on laughs and cuteness, heavy on melancholy.

The Details

An Object of Beauty
two and a half stars
By Steve Martin
$27

Protagonist Lacy Yeager lusts for success in the art-dealer world. Everybody else in the book lusts for Yeager, including art critic/An Object of Beauty narrator Daniel Chester French. He brings readers into the 1990s New York art scene, a time and place where everybody had money and everybody was buying (think back to those Sex and the City gallery-opening party scenes).

The atmosphere is fun, the dialogue is pointed, and the physical book (the cover, the paper, the included images) is gorgeous. But Yeager is an unlikable protagonist. And 300 pages is a long way to travel with somebody you don’t care about. Even if the journey has a pretty view.

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