Don't you just love it when you stumble upon a book that you really want to take your time to read? Slowly and mindfully placing yourself in the right frame of mind and chair as you peel each page open with indulgence.
An Object of Beauty, Steve Martin's latest novel, is just that book. Tucked in its pages are color copies of both fine and contemporary art that accompany the story of the central character, Lacey Yeager, a young and ambitious woman who craves to make a name for herself in the art world. Similar to his previous book, Shopgirl, Martin develops a female character navigating her way towards what she feels is most important. At one point you realize you've known a Lacey Yeager and perhaps there is a tiny part of her within us, as she becomes more and more palpable to the imagination. Lacey takes us on trips, along with the narrator who appears so close and yet so far away from Lacey. In some ways the narrator becomes more friend to the reader.
What I loved most about this book is that you can tell Martin really took his time with it. Martin's writing is precise and yet there is the element of escapism as he smartly and compactly presents descriptions of art, not to mention well executed character development and voice to the surrounding personalities in the book.
These dollops of art that Martin intersperses give the book its treasure chest quality and feel. Each page is like a jewel to the reader. An Object of Beauty is just that, an object of beauty.