Thursday, May 8, 2008

Review: The Art Thief

I went to college with Noah Charney, the author of The Art Thief. I met him when I was a freshman and he was a sophomore. He lived in the Coburn 6-man with 4 other people (2 of whom are now married and just had a baby). I ended up living in the same suite (although not the same room) the following year. We had a lot of mutual friends, and I used to hang out in his room and we'd do our homework together, sitting on his bed & listening to music. He still has my blue fleece blanket, btw.

We kind of lost touch after my freshman year (he went abroad to London when he was a junior and then when he came back his senior year I was in Paris for the first semester). A few months ago I noticed this article in the NYT magazine. Then I read about him again in the Colby magazine. Apparently he's 'invented' the field of scholarly study to solve art theft, and is now the world's foremost authority. He's also written a novel. I wasn't sure what I'd think of it - the reviews on Amazon were...erm...crap.

The writing style is exceedingly verbose - if it weren't by someone I know I don't think I'd have read past the first few pages. Why use one adjective when 6 will do? I kept reading bits out to John, prefaced by "Oh my God, you won't believe THIS sentence!"

Overall, though, much as a part of me wanted to, I didn't hate it. Despite all the adjectives and the somewhat hackneyed writing, the twist at the end was kinda clever and I may even admit to having enjoyed it. I feel like a bit of a numpty for not spotting the twist earlier, but still.

Oh, and if you check his bio on, it mentions his punk band, The Jump Into. I have their debut (and only) CD, bought from the bass player (who I dated in college, another claim to fame...) It kind of sucks, but what can you do?


C said...

Noah effing Charney. I'm so annoyed that he got to be famous. But I suppose it's further proof that character is destiny.

Anonymous said...

I loved the first paragraph, very descriptive, well composed and absolutely relevant to the act of objective reviewing! You sure do feel awfully proud that he still owns your blue fleece blanket, don't you! I hope you didn't leave him with your red safety pin, that would account for the seventh adjective used, a?