I feel like I’ve read lots of books where art (in its various forms) is integral to the plot. Here are my favourite art-lit picks –

01. The Museum of Modern Love by Heather Rose – overseas readers, if you haven’t discovered this Australian gem, GET ON IT.

02. A Line Made by Walking by Sara Baume – photography, painting, depression: there are so many layers to this story it probably deserves multiple reads.

03.What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt – gripping.

04. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt – okay, not a ‘hidden gem’ (as per the parameters of this week’s TTT) but it is epic.

05. Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt – coming-of-age meets art (it’s charming).

06. Tuesday Nights in 1980 by Molly Prentiss – at the time of reading I thought it a little uneven but it’s a book I keep thinking about…

07. Sisters by Lily Tuck – lots of important-sounding classical music references in this novella. And the ending is a ripper.

08. Between a Wolf and a Dog by Georgia Blain – one of my favourites this year.

09. The Women by T.C. Boyle – Frank Lloyd Wright: great architect, lousy family man.

10. Swimming Studies by Leanne Shapton – okay, it’s a memoir but it includes paintings of swimming pools! And photographs of her favourite bathers (swimming costumes)!



27 responses

  1. I have to admit I’m a sucker for this sub genre. I recently enjoyed The last painting by Sara de Vos and The Muse (which kind of lost its way towards the end of the book). If you’re looking for another book on Frank Lloyd Wright, Loving Frank was pretty good. I also loved An Equal Music by Vikram Seth. Someone recently recommended The world to come by Dara Horn but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. Thanks for the great list – more to add to the pile!

    • Yes, I enjoyed Sara de Vos and The Muse as well (like you, I thought The Muse was in a bit of a hurry to finish – felt a bit neat). I’ve als read Loving Frank – it’s one of my favourite books, beautifully written and, even though I knew what happened, when the time came I cried my eyes out! I read Nancy Horan’s second book and was extremely disappointed – it had none of the poignancy of Frank.

      Music and Freedom is on my TBR list – have heard such good things about it.

  2. I’ve spent all morning with my head full of artists and artists’ models and can finally put a name to it – The Horse’s Mouth, Joyce Carey. Also of course The Agony and the Ecstasy and I’m sure lots of others (Don’t give up on gin lit though!).

  3. Always delighted to see What I Loved on a list! I also enjoyed The Last Painting of Sara de Vos and would recommend Michael Frayn’s Headlong if you’re wanting more. Bernhard Schlink has one out in the UK later this year about a lost painting and there’s an Australian connection, apparently. Definitely a trend.

    • I’ve already added the Schlink to my TBR stack, thanks to your post yesterday 😁
      Haven’t heard of Headlong, so will look that one up.
      I could have also included Hustvedt’s This Blazing World, which was very much art focused but it was one of the few books that I DNF!

  4. I haven’t read The Museum of Modern Love so I followed your instructions and got on it, but amazon are saying its only on kindle over here. The weird thing is the cover is so familiar I’m sure I’ve seen people reading it. I will not be dissuaded, I’m going to investigate further…

  5. We do read and enjoy a lot of the same 😊 Yes to Museum of Modern Love, yesyesyes to What I Loved & yesyes to Lily Tuck (I’ve just finished I Married you for Love & plan to read more of her stuff).

    What about The Children’s Book by AS Byatt and An Equal Music by Vikram Seth? I adored both.

  6. I loved Between a Wolf and A Dog, but can’t for the life of me remember what the art angle is (this is why I should review every book I read, or at least take copious notes). Remind me?

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