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on July 07, 2012 :
Mark Beyer knows a lot about art history, classicism, and contemporary New York City. That erudition, and an exciting prose style, are what makes What Beauty such a pleasure to read.
By the time his protagonist, sculptor Minus Orth, has decided to base his latest series of works on characters from classic lore, Beyer has already given his reader enough clues about the importance of the ancient Greek epics to his modern-day vision. There are chariots rolling down the streets of Manhattan, wars of wits with inscrutable fathers, aloof gods playing games with us mortals, wounded warriors waking to visions of beautiful temptresses, and a fascinating hero-in-disguise plot that unravels with amazing expertise. Orth's ambition to succeed in the art world is a Herculean fight in our secular age, and he does battle with adversaries as dangerous in their way as anything Odysseus faced: critics, rivals, and a mentor he's not sure he can trust.
Packed with wit, emotion, and memorable characters, What Beauty is a rewarding read for people who are up to the challenge.
(reviewed long after purchase)