Summary

Alizée Benoit, an American painter working for the Works Progress Administration (WPA), vanishes in New York City in 1940 amid personal and political turmoil. No one knows what happened to her. Not her Jewish family living in German-occupied France. Not her artistic patron and political compatriot, Eleanor Roosevelt. Not her close-knit group of friends, including Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, and Lee Krasner. And, some 70 years later, not her great-niece, Danielle Abrams, who, while working at Christie's auction house, uncovers enigmatic paintings hidden behind recently found works by those now famous abstract expressionist artists. Do they hold answers to the questions surrounding her missing aunt?
Entwining the lives of both historical and fictional characters and moving between the past and the present, The Muralist plunges listeners into the divisiveness of prewar politics and the largely forgotten plight of European refugees refused entrance to the United States. It captures both the inner workings of today's New York art scene and the beginnings of the vibrant and quintessentially American school of abstract expressionism.
B. A. Shapiro is a master at telling a gripping story while exploring provocative themes. In Alizée and Danielle, she has created two unforgettable women, artists both, who compel us to ask, What happens when luminous talent collides with inexorable historical forces? Does great art have the power to change the world? And to what lengths should a person go to thwart evil?
©2015 B.A. Shapiro (P)2015 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books
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Critic reviews

"B. A. Shapiro once again pens the art world into vivid, sensual life. Set during World War II and the dawn of Abstract Expressionism, The Muralist is an intriguing story masterfully imagined about art, war, family, truth, and freedom. If you liked The Art Forger, you're going to love The Muralist!" (Lisa Genova, author of Love, Anthony)
"B. A. Shapiro's The Muralist is an expertly constructed, riveting tale of art, politics, love, and consequences in the Depression Era. I admire so much the way she vividly brings to life this passionate world of the past - it rings with originality and authenticity. What a compelling read!" (Jami Attenberg, author of The Middlesteins)
"I am a great fan of B. A. Shapiro, especially her new novel The Muralist. It is a tantalizing mystery, as well as an involving meditation on the meaning of art over time." (Scott Turow, author of Identical)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By acarter1123 on 07-08-16

a gripping tale of emotion

This tale of art and passion, of intrigue and truth speaks to the human drive to not only survive, but also to thrive. The scary part of the story is its relevance today as many people parrot the same isolationist ideologies which promote xenophobia once again in this country.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By alyxsheerheart on 02-12-15

Like the Beginning; Indifferent About the Rest

For the second time in a week, a book's ending has completely shocked me. The Muralist's ending makes me happy, yet confused all at the same time.

The first thing you have to grow customer to when reading this book, is the way it jumps back and forth between speaker and time. You go from Dani in 2015 to Alizée in the late 1930s - 1940. For the most part, Alizée is the main character/voice. I enjoyed the first 3rd, and I guess the final 5 chapters, but the middle of the book causes mixed-feelings.

It's a bit wordy, especially in the middle. But the all of a sudden in a matter of a couple chapters out of 57, the book's problem is solved and wrapped up with a bow on top. Just strange. I wish we could have enjoyed a more gradual ending that would leave me making more sense of the events.

This is not a book that will have you begging for more or wanting to read it all in one sitting. I have had this around for almost a month trying to get it finished. But it is an easy read. Maybe just not the most gripping, easy read.

However, all-in-all, I enjoyed the book. I would, perhaps, give this a 3.5 / 5 stars if that were an option. But since it's not, I feel like it deserves a 4 over a 3.

Xe Sands is a phenomenal narrator. I think I have become attached to her in some way after listening to both The Art Forger and The Muralist.

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6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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