Everything that gets created destroys something else.
When a fire rips through her studio and burns the seven enormous paintings for her next exhibition, a young, no-name painter is left with an impossible task: recreate her art in just three months – or ruin her fledgling career. Thirty-four, single and homeless, she desperately secures a place at an exclusive upstate retreat.
Brimming with creative history and set on a sparkling black lake, Pine City and its founders – a notorious collective of successful artists – is what she’s idolized all her life. She’s dreamt of the parties, the celebrities, the privilege. What she finds is a ghost of its former self.
The recent suicide of founding member Carey Logan haunts everyone, lurking beneath the surface like a shipwreck. And one thought begins to shadow her every move – what really happened to her hero?
With a flair for sensational detail and acidic wit, Barbara Bourland delivers a darkly satirical thriller about art, money and identity with a twist so sharp it cuts.
After a number of years trying to make a name for herself in the art world, our protagonist meets one Carey Logan, another female artist and member of Pine City. A talked about group of experimental artists. She is enthralled.
Sometime later, after a fire rips through our unnamed protagonists apartment/studio, whilst preparing for an upcoming showing of her work, she finds herself in desperate need of a work space and ends up on the Pine City estate.
It is at this point the book then takes us into the most marvellously atmospheric world of painting, creative obsession and the mystery behind the members of this well known group.
I found this a great read and a very absorbing novel. Seen only through the eyes of our main character it really allows the reader to get under her skin and be transported to her world. It is both interesting and informative but also deeply atmospheric and a believable thriller type novel.
I enjoyed all the characters, even though it is only our main character that is ‘fleshed out’ and whom we learn anything about until the end of the story. The lack of information about the members of Pine City adds to their mysterious nature.
For me the best part of this novel is it’s descriptive writing of setting and the creative obsession and day to day life of this artist at this time. I found it very interesting hearing of how she actually goes about making her art work, not just from a creative ideas point of view, but also the more practical side of things, like making up frames and the enormous amount of materials needed to obtain an effect or colour she is after for a painting. The planning, time, and maths needed to do this are often mentioned.
The setting is wonderful and the heat and cloying atmosphere of the estate really came through. The lake and often empty accommodation matched with the solitude of her work habits add wonderfully to this and creates a world one can really get lost in. I also enjoyed the way this then lived ‘next door’ to the opulent world of her old friend Max with her parties, privileged up bringing and art collection.
A really interesting book and a good thriller that drew me wonderfully into its world.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for my advanced copy.