The Art Lover

Carole Maso

After reading both this book and Ghost Dance, I wonder what has brought Carole Maso to write so eloquently about loss aside from the obvious fact that she has experienced it significantly. In this book she tackles loss through sudden death, slow death, and divorce all at once by maintaining several layers of plot. The style of this story is similar to Ghost Dance in many ways, being centered around a character in the midst of trauma while living in New York City in a specific time period (here the 1980s), although there is no mystery here. There are many images and clippings illustrating the story, as if it is some kind of novel/sketchbook.

The best part of the book is undoubtedly where Maso abandons the fiction veil in the layer of the story about the narrator’s good friend slowly dying of AIDS, suddenly the narrator Caroline is fessed up to be Carole and her friend Steven is revealed to be artist Gary Falk, who died of AIDS in 1986. This part is so raw and brutal that it could have easily made the fiction seem pale and unbearably fake in comparison. Yet somehow it works when it switches back to the other stories, as if showing us how such experiences can be turned into stories, and that the stories can make the experiences more bearable.

more from this author