“It must have been THAT, his willingness to aim toward the extremes–toward death–that drew Aleksandra to him. After all, she too had consistently put herself in harm’s way for her art, particularly while venturing into certain parts of the Palestinian Territories to capture her pictures. Benjamin Wind’s lack of fear, the impetuosity that took him to the point of diving into evil for the sake of his work, must have felt like a life ring to her. ” – Daniel, The Marriage Artist
Art critic Daniel Lichtmann finds his world suddenly falling apart when his wife Aleksandra jumps to her death. Her body is found side by side with that of artist Benjamin Wind, whose fame is, in large part, thanks to Daniel’s rave reviews. When it becomes apparent that Benjamin and Aleksandra were lovers, Daniel is forced to seek answers, his soul tormented by questions, regret and the need to unravel the mystery of his wife’s affair with Benjamin and their subsequent suicides.
His search forces Daniel to open old wounds and examine his shortcomings, with the aide of Max Wiener, the old man who has chosen to share the secret of Benjamin’s past, in an effort to finish a story that began before WWII. This burning quest for truth plucks Daniel from NY and lands him in Vienna, amongst the ghosts, dead and living, past and present, determined to be heard, their stories revealed.
The Marriage Artist, by Andrew Winer is as much a piece of art as it is a novel. Written in voluptuous form, very similar to the late Anais Nin, Winer succeeds in weaving a sumptuous, raw, soul revealing tapestry of a tale. Every character is fleshed out and exposed for the reader, their flaws, their indecencies, their sins, provocatively displayed, delicately construed, sublimely eviscerated, making them both abhorrent and accessible, but ultimately, intimately familiar to the reader.
Past and present is seamlessly fused, Winer’s descriptive of pre WWII Vienna, lush, pervasive, his ability to pull in and hold fast to his readers, prodigious. Winer supplies romance, greed, need, religion, tradition, passion and sexuality with poetic prose that is both divested and emblematic, mesmerizing and fluidly flawless. Richly historic, psychologically mellifluous, Winer presents himself as not only a writer, in The Marriage Artist, but a Master of the human psyche.
For anyone seeking a toothsome, full-bodied read that will linger on the soul’s palate for some time after imbibing, this is the book for you.
Claudia lives on Cape Cod with her husband and two children. She entertains her passion for reading in between being a full-time Mom, aspiring writer, avid photographer & co-leader of the Cape Cod Community Angels, a non-profit organization for young girls involved in volunteering in their Community.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Henry, Holt and Co. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.