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The Improbability of Love: SHORTLISTED FOR THE BAILEYS WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2016 Paperback – 31 Mar 2016
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A deliciously wicked satire ... It's exquisitely written, shimmering with eye-catching detail, whether describing works of art or the dishes on display at an extravagant banquet. Beneath all that, there's a serious debate about the value we put on things - whether it's art or relationships - and the prices we're prepared to pay. A masterpiece (Daily Mail)
Novel of the week . It all adds up to an ingenious meditation on the true value of art - timely indeed at a moment when paintings and sculpture seem to have become just another currency (Mail on Sunday)
Though this novel goes into the darkest of dark places, the overall tone is totally delicious; conspicuous consumption on this scale hasn't been seen since the Eighties (Kate Saunders The Times)
Part of the novel's charm is that its characters, rich or poor, are all a mixture of frailties. Like a Rococo painting, this clever, funny, beguiling and wholly humane romance is a treat worthy of its subject (Amanda Craig Independent)
This frothy confection works on many levels, combining a touching love story with an exciting whodunit sat in a hazardous, thrilling world. The story unfolds slowly at first, building up the tension until towards the end the chapters shorten and the pace quickens with staccato satire worthy of the pen of Evelyn Waugh. A real crowd pleaser **** (Daily Express)
Hannah Rothschild is finally coming into her own. Soon to be head of the National Gallery, her novel about the art world is bound to be a bestseller (Lynn Barber Sunday Times)
Her writing shows brain as well as a heart (Economist)
The Improbability of Love is a romp, a joy, and an inspired feast of clever delights. Reading this book is like a raid on a high-end pastry shop - you marvel at the expertise and cunning of the creations, while never wanting the deliciousness to end (Elizabeth Gilbert)
Every page is a joy. It's funny, sad, profound. The writing dances. It has panache. It's beautifully structured. It wears its scholarship with a balletic lightness and grace that shadows the Rococo painting at its heart. Its many and varied characters are an exquisite joy. Her range and emotional grasp is wonderful. What more can I say? It's my Book of the Year already (Barbara Trapido)
Impishly wicked, ruthlessly frank, touchingly percipient and sometimes laugh aloud funny to boot. Hannah Rothschild captures the contradiction between art as money and art as the soul of humanity really well (Rachel Campbell-Johnston, Art Critic for The Times)
Both a satire of the art world and a romance . It's mischievous, fun and on the money (Tatler)
A timely reflection on art's true value (Observer)
What a delightful read - a satirical look at the world of art with some love, mystery and comedy thrown in for good measure. There is a darker element to the plot which I won't spoil here, but it is tempered by a wonderful cast of characters and has the unusual addition of the painting as an occasional narrator. It's certainly a clever way of weaving the provenance of the painting into the story (Radio 2 Book Club)
Part detective story, part romance, the gripping narrative moves between contemporary London and Nazi Germany, examining along the way the meaning of love and loss, morality and greed, sacrifice and decadence . the central theme of Nazi art theft is deftly handled. An excellent and very funny debut (The Lady)
Absorbing . Rothschild cleverly has the painting itself tell part of the story and beautifully marshals a wealth of historical detail (Metro)
A novel that is so pleasurable I've read it twice, and will read it again (Glasgow Sunday Herald)
A bittersweet and highly enjoyable satire (Woman & Home)
If you did not know much about the passion and power behind the doors of the great auction houses and art dealers, you will by the end of this enchanting tale . Part well-crafted mystery, part thriller, part love story, Rothschild's The Improbability of Love takes its readers on a wonderful journey into a rarefied world usually only experienced by the wealthy few (Jewish Chronicle)
A capacious and fluently knowledgeable tale that excoriates with mischievously satirical intent the viciously competitive world of high-stakes art collecting ... Captivating ... Rothschild, the first woman to chair London's National Gallery, is a dazzling omniscient narrator giving voice to an irresistible cast of reprobates and heroes ... An opulently detailed, suspensefully plotted, shrewdly witty novel of decadence, crimes ordinary and genocidal, and improbable love (Booklist )
A frolicsome art-world caper . Ms. Rothschild writes with such exuberance and spins such a propulsive yarn . Her erudition - about restoration, authentication, art history in general - comes through on page after page, and it's one of the incidental pleasures of reading The Improbability of Love, as are her mouthwatering descriptions of the feasts Annie makes (New York Times)
'A frolicsome art-world caper. Ms. Rothschild writes with such exuberance and spins such a propulsive yarn. Her erudition comes through on page after page, and it's one of the incidental pleasures of reading The Improbability of Love.' (The New York Times)
'A deliciously wicked satire ... It's exquisitely written, shimmering with eye-catching detail, whether describing works of art or the dishes on display at an extravagant banquet. Beneath all that, there's a serious debate about the value we put on things – whether it's art or relationships – and the prices we're prepared to pay. A masterpiece.' (The Daily Mail)
'Though this novel goes into the darkest of dark places, the overall tone is totally delicious; conspicuous consumption on this scale hasn't been seen since the Eighties.' (The Times) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Annie had moved from Devon to London after the break-up of a fourteen-year-long relationship and is desperately lonely. She is also temporarily putting up her alcoholic mother whom, not for the first time, she has rescued from a police station; but when she is sober, she is a shrewd and perceptive woman.
Annie’s hobby is inventive cooking and she has a temporary job as a cook for a couple at an art gallery. When the gallery is giving a large dinner party in connection with its attempt to sell a Caravaggio, Annie researches and prepares the kind of meal that would have been served in Caravaggio’s time; this in turn will lead her to be invited to do the same for an art historian whose speciality is Watteau, and it involves her in creating a menu such as would have been served at Louis XIV’s court.
The novel is something of a potpourri: though well written, many of its scenes are well away from the main plot.Read more ›
It set out to tick all these boxes and does it with gusto.That it is written by someone with the name of Rothschild gives it an instant seal of authenticity. I really enjoyed it!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
how sad, shortlisting would suggest something to recommend it. but no, it is tedious ,slow with characters that are way too fictional. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Mark I Puddy
This book is a bit like Marmite....you either love it or hate it. I loved it.
It took me a while to get into the story as there are many characters and lots going on at the... Read more
Started off well and then I got bored and flipped to the end to find out what happened. Would make a good film! Others I know enjoyed it and couldn't put it down.Published 11 days ago by Amazon Customer
I really enjoyed this book - it would be perfect for a holiday read. It was well written and I enjoyed the author's clear knowledge of art history. Read morePublished 13 days ago by Mrs Marguerita Hoffnung
When I saw this book left around the house after been recommended by the local book club (100% women) I thought Oh no, another lovvie dovvie written by a woman for other women. Read morePublished 15 days ago by Dudley