An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin
A Novel

60%

20 Critic Reviews

Readers...might turn to Michael Cunningham's "By Nightfall"...or Fernanda Eberstadt....These authors don't allow their books' milieu to engulf their characters, a predicament Mr. Martin has not been so fortunate, this time, to avoid.
-WSJ online

Synopsis

Lacey Yeager is young, captivating, and ambitious enough to take the NYC art world by storm. Groomed at Sotheby's and hungry to keep climbing the social and career ladders put before her, Lacey charms men and women, old and young, rich and even richer with her magnetic charisma and liveliness. Her ascension to the highest tiers of the city parallel the soaring heights--and, at times, the dark lows--of the art world and the country from the late 1990s through today.
 

About Steve Martin

See more books from this Author
Steve Martin was born on August 14, 1945 in Waco, Texas. He studied at Long Beach State College. He has acted in such films as The Jerk; Roxanne; Planes, Trains and Automobiles; Bowfinger; Father of the Bride; Cheaper by the Dozen; and Shopgirl, which was adapted from a novel he wrote. He has won an Emmy for his comedy writing and Grammies for his comedy albums. He has made several appearances on The Tonight Show and Saturday Night Live. He has written several books including Shopgirl, Cruel Shoes, Pure Drivel, The Pleasure of My Company, and An Object of Beauty. He also wrote a play entitled Picasso at the Lapin Agile and a memoir entitled Born Standing Up. During the 1990s, he wrote various pieces for The New Yorker. In 2002, he adapted the Carl Sternheim play The Underpants, which ran Off-Broadway at Classic Stage Company and in 2008, co-wrote and produced Traitor.
 
Published November 23, 2010 by Grand Central Publishing. 297 pages
Genres: Humor & Entertainment, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
Bookmark Counts:
1
Have Read
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for An Object of Beauty
All: 20 | Positive: 12 | Negative: 8

Kirkus

Excellent
on Aug 01 2010

An artfully told tale of trade, caste and the obsessive mindset of collectors.

Read Full Review of An Object of Beauty: A Novel | See more reviews from Kirkus

NY Times

Excellent
on Nov 28 2010

“An Object of Beauty” features 22 reproductions of quirkily varied artwork...All are ingeniously worked into the narrative in ways that advance the story...

Read Full Review of An Object of Beauty: A Novel | See more reviews from NY Times

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Alexandra Jacobs on Nov 26 2010

As fiction, though, it is thoroughly delightful, evoking a vanished gilded age with impertinence but never contempt (and with a feather-light touch; the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, for example, appear literally as a minor impediment to Lacey’s bicycle ride down the primrose path).

Read Full Review of An Object of Beauty: A Novel | See more reviews from NY Times

Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Elizabeth Day on Nov 27 2010

While the last quarter of An Object of Beauty perks up considerably, the rest is an opportunity sadly missed. It feels as if Martin, in his attempt to chart the fickleness of taste and wealth, has set out to emulate the laconic tone of Jay McInerney in Bright Lights, Big City or Bret Easton Ellis in Glamorama.

Read Full Review of An Object of Beauty: A Novel | See more reviews from Guardian

WSJ online

Below average
on Nov 20 2010

Readers...might turn to Michael Cunningham's "By Nightfall"...or Fernanda Eberstadt....These authors don't allow their books' milieu to engulf their characters, a predicament Mr. Martin has not been so fortunate, this time, to avoid.

Read Full Review of An Object of Beauty: A Novel | See more reviews from WSJ online

NY Journal of Books

Excellent
on Nov 23 2010

With Mr. Martin as our guide, we stroll along upper Madison Avenue, stopping in at Gagosian or Hirschl & Adler to see what’s on offer...

Read Full Review of An Object of Beauty: A Novel | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

Book Reporter

Below average
on Nov 03 2011

...the reader is not as moved as she might have been had the author chosen a different path into the story.

Read Full Review of An Object of Beauty: A Novel

Globe and Mail

Good
Reviewed by Jason Anderson on Dec 10 2010

Ultimately, what Martin has created is not just a crafty portrait of the art world but a haunting tragicomedy of manners. As such, it fits into a lineage of Manhattan stories stretching back to Edith Wharton and Henry James and up through Louis Auchincloss and John Updike.

Read Full Review of An Object of Beauty: A Novel | See more reviews from Globe and Mail

Toronto Star

Good
on Dec 03 2010

As you might expect from a lifelong comedian, there are plenty of witty asides throughout...

Read Full Review of An Object of Beauty: A Novel | See more reviews from Toronto Star

AV Club

Above average
Reviewed by Ellen Wernecke on Dec 23 2010

Diverting and light, An Object Of Beauty says nothing profound about the Lacey Yeagers of the world, but enjoys itself along the way.

Read Full Review of An Object of Beauty: A Novel | See more reviews from AV Club

Entertainment Weekly

Good
on Nov 17 2010

...a dramedy of manners that doubles as an immersion course in the rarefied world of high-end art.

Read Full Review of An Object of Beauty: A Novel

The Seattle Times

Good
on Dec 04 2010

Martin, formerly a "wild and crazy guy," has matured into the most subdued and wryly humorous of storytellers

Read Full Review of An Object of Beauty: A Novel

Oregon Live

Below average
on Dec 04 2010

How much do we care about a story whose protagonist is completely unredeemable?

Read Full Review of An Object of Beauty: A Novel

Salon

Below average
on Dec 28 2010

Just what kind of a book was Martin attempting to write? A satirical novel? A serious novel? A novel of ideas? A sour romance? Sophisticated gossip? “An Object of Beauty” never quite succeeds on any of these levels...

Read Full Review of An Object of Beauty: A Novel

The New Republic

Below average
on Dec 22 2010

Martin does not appear to have reflected very deeply on the people and the events and the artworks that he describes.

Read Full Review of An Object of Beauty: A Novel

Journal Sentinel

Excellent
on Jan 06 2011

Martin’s writing is lithe and his descriptions of art artful, the novel’s greatest pleasure

Read Full Review of An Object of Beauty: A Novel

Full Stop

Below average
on Feb 23 2011

...the lesson here seems to be that Lacey, sadly, believes the sum of these parts—power—is what matters. If only this book had convinced me that Steve Martin feels any differently.

Read Full Review of An Object of Beauty: A Novel

The Hollywood Reporter

Above average
Reviewed by Craig Seligman on Nov 30 2010

The truth comes out as a late but not climactic revelation, and withholding it results in a somewhat misshapen novel. But only somewhat — Beauty easily survives this single act of artistic bad faith. Otherwise the book is a treat...

Read Full Review of An Object of Beauty: A Novel

Elle

Above average
on Nov 23 2010

...add larcenous wit and insider knowledge of the Manhattan art scene, and—behold—An ­Object of Beauty becomes a bodacious, brainy, bountiful read and a bracing cautionary tale.

Read Full Review of An Object of Beauty: A Novel

The Pacific Northwest Inlander

Good
on Nov 23 2010

Martin’s humor brushes through this novel, which makes it fun to read. It’s also — surprisingly — informative

Read Full Review of An Object of Beauty: A Novel

Reader Rating for An Object of Beauty
71%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 920 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review

Reader reviews & activity

Ben Labovitz

Ben Labovitz 12 Oct 2013

Has read the book