The Marriage Artist

The Marriage Artist
By Andrew Winer
Henry Holt and Co., October 26, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8050-9178-6, ISBN10: 0-8050-9178-5,
384 pages, $26.00



The Marriage Artist opens with two lifeless bodies on the New York summer pavement, a woman and a man. They appear to have fallen. Was it a suicide pact?  Was one person pushed? Was there a struggle and both fell?  Or was it something else entirely?  The woman was Aleksandra Lichtmann, the wife of art critic Daniel Lichtmann. The other body was that of artist Benjamin Wind, who Daniel helped propel into fame. 

Then story then takes us back to 1928 Vienna and the world of ten-year-old Josef Pick. While Pick is visiting with his maternal Grandfather Pommeranz (a failed Rabbi and struggling ketubah artist) the grandfather discovers there is an amazing artistic talent dormant within the young Josef when the young man begins to create a sacred ketubah, the illuminated marriage contract of the Jews.  



Author Andrew Winer has juxtaposed the seemingly unrelated worlds of Daniel Lichtmann and Josef Pick in a carefully woven tapestry of family struggles, heartache and denials stretching over decades and continents. As Daniel starts on his journey to uncover the truth of his wife's death he's forced confront his own beliefs and what's important to him in his world. He also must learn to understand the motivations of people and their far reaching consequences.


Like the story's young Josef Pick, Winer is also an artist. However, it is his use of words and the images they create that make The Marriage Artist the compelling work that it is.  I must add that I got a bit lost for a short period as I felt the story bogged down towards the middle act, but the ending more than made up for the short term issue. 



I do recommend this book, it's a heartfelt study of family, faith, trust, truth and what we do to survive.



If I gave a "star" rating, it would be 3 1/2 stars out of 5.


Andrew Winer is the author of The Marriage Artist and The Color Midnight Made. Formerly an artist who wrote art criticism, he teaches at the University of California, Riverside, where he has directed the MFA program in creative writing. He is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction and is married to the writer Charmaine Craig, with whom he has two daughters.

Source: This book was provided to me by the publisher at my request and in no way affected by review.

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