A Nearly Perfect Copy

By Allison Amend
(Anchor, Paperback, 9780345803146, 304pp.)

Publication Date: January 28, 2014

Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover, Hardcover

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Elm Howells has a loving family and a distinguished career at an elite Manhattan art auction house. But after a tragic loss throws her into an emotional crisis, she pursues a reckless course of action that jeopardizes her personal and professional success. Meanwhile, talented artist Gabriel Connois wearies of remaining at the margins of the capricious Parisian art scene. Desperate for recognition, he embarks on a scheme that threatens his burgeoning reputation. As these narratives converge, with disastrous consequences, A Nearly Perfect Copy boldly challenges our presumptions about originality and authenticity, loss and replacement, and the perilous pursuit of perfection.

About the Author

Allison Amend, a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, is the author of the Independent Publisher’s Award-winning short story collection Things That Pass for Love and the novel Stations West, which was a finalist for the 2011 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature and the Oklahoma Book Award. She lives in New York City, where she teaches creative writing at Lehman College.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Book critic Alan Cheuse has a review of A Nearly Perfect Copy by Allison Amend. More at NPR.org

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Praise For A Nearly Perfect Copy

“Wonderfully witty and stylish. . . . A smart page turner . . . Amend creates very real characters who live in a very unreal world.”
Chicago Tribune
“Amend tells an absorbing story of believable characters walking a tightrope of ethical dilemma and despair. . . . Artistic and beautiful.”
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Intricate and ambitious . . . Amend’s characters [are] relatable and visceral. . . . [Her] crisp, even prose is hard to pull away from and subtle in its elegance.”
The Dallas Morning News
“[A] fast-paced, intriguing novel.”

“Amend creates suspense by charting in wincing detail Elm’s and Gabriel’s progress through ethically gray areas in the art market to unquestionably illegal acts. . . . Well-wrought . . . the author meticulously delineates [her characters’] yearnings and frustrations. . . . Cleverly rendered.”
The Washington Post

“Amend draws sharp characters [and] creates a nicely evolving plot. . . . What unfolds is acutely appealing: various characters struggling to overcome defeat and failure in their private and public lives. . . . I got caught up in their problems, their struggles. I loved the lore about the art business. Really, I found this to be a terrifically entertaining novel that never lost its hold on the hearts of its characters or mine.”
—Alan Cheuse, NPR

“Beautiful. . . . Amend’s brisk, complex second novel focuses on artistic lineage and forgery, loss and replacement, and questions of origin and originality. . . . Stunningly well-researched, A Nearly Perfect Copy is studded with fascinating detail.”
Mid-American Review

“A flawlessly rendered, totally engrossing, class-and-continent hopping story. . . . Every scene, every page, every passage of this novel has been written with the stunning clarity and great humanity of a true artist at the height of her abilities. My guess is, if you read this book you will soon be shoving it into the hand of someone you love. I certainly will.”
—Charles Bock, New York Times bestselling author of Beautiful Children

“Just when you think you know where A Nearly Perfect Copy is going, it swerves, like life, in some new direction. Allison Amend has packed this book with wit, style, yearning, risk, damage, truth, and compassion, populated it with characters who breathe with their own individual mystery, and along the way written what just might be the definitive fictional treatment of art forgery.”
—Kevin Brockmeier, author of The Brief History of the Dead

“This is what people mean when they use the term ‘intelligent page-turner.’ Amend is a brilliant storyteller. . . . The complicated, completely fascinating characters, the intricacy and cleverness of the plot, and the razor sharp exploration of contemporary mores make for a truly masterful read. I loved, loved, loved it.”
—Joanna Smith Rakoff, author of A Fortunate Age

“Something very real comes out of the many layers of forgery in Allison Amend’s brainy intrigue of the shadowy side of the art world. . . . A captivating story.”
—Ron Carlson, author of The Signal

“Allison Amend is a gifted storyteller—no, more than gifted. Her writing is powerful enough to create its own kind of weather. Her characters are so real it’s as if you could reach between the pages and shake hands with them.”
—Hannah Tinti, author of The Good Thief

“[An] intricate, witty page-turner.”
Stanford Magazine

“A well-crafted and introspective novel that will provide fodder for thoughtful discussions on morality and integrity.”
Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star

“Clever, wry . . . Amend makes her characters immediately real, depicting their complicated desires and decisions in a highly enjoyable, nearly perfect novel.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review

“[Written] with supple command, caustic wit, and a deep fascination with decent people who lose their moral compass. . . . [Amend’s] visual acuity, fluent psychology, venture into the shadow side of the art world, and storytelling verve make for a blue-chip novel of substance and suspense.”

“A fast-paced, lively novel of forgery . . . Amend provides a fizzy, entertaining insider’s look at the conjunction of visual art and commerce—especially the world of art auctions. . . . A provocative and likable read.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Amend’s talent is on full display as these smart, complex narratives dance around each other, each capturing the reader’s imagination without ever detracting from the other story. Although she’s received critical acclaim for her work in a number of literary publications and for her historical novel, Stations West, this finely rendered portrait of two lives should introduce Amend to a wider audience.”

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