The God of My Art by Sarah Lane
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The God of my Art by Sarah Lane is a 2013 Purpleferns Press Publication.
Helene is an artist in her early twenties trying to find her way in the world. Her goals are fairly simple when seen on paper but trying to accomplish what she wants as an artist, a lover, and a woman is not that easy to actually accomplish.
The story is told in first person as Helene experiences a relationship with Matt, her muse, then finds herself alone as he travels to another country to live for awhile. In the meantime, Helene gets a call from her mother whom she refers to as Katie. Katie is having marital issues and has started drinking and smoking again which upsets Helene. However, Helene knows Katie is only thinking of herself and her own little corner of the universe. Helene is just a sounding board. She shows zero interest in her daughter's art or life, she seldom ask her any questions about how things are for her, she only laments about her own failures and problems. Once a line of communication is reopened with Katie, Helene begins to reflect upon her poor upbringing and life with her mother and step father.
As the story progresses, Matt steps out of Helene's life as a lover, for good, but she still thinks of him as her muse. Helene makes new friends who encourage her to pursue her art by attending art school. Before she can really see herself committing to something like that she needs closure about her father, who died when she was two- who was he? were there any relatives she could connect with?- and so on. She is surprised by her mother's revelations. I think in the end, Helene will immerse herself into her art by letting her past, present, and the promise of a better life for herself flow within her talent. Helene will emerge on the other side a more stable, complete, content and successful woman despite her less than supportive background and heartbreaks.
It's hard to believe this is a debut novel. The author has a literary prose that rivals more experienced and seasoned authors. I was given a copy of this book by an author friend after she read it, so I knew this was going to be a special read. Now I will have to confess that I had no idea what kind of book this was when I started reading it and while I enjoyed the writers style, I thought perhaps this was one of those literary novels that went over my head. I still may not have understood all that the author was hoping the reader would take away from the book, but I think I got the gist of the story. I was just mesmerized by the prose and that is what really had me invested in the book until I began to really care about Helene and traveled along with her as she made a sort of peace with her past and her family, but as she also realized she had it within herself to be better than her upbringing would indicate. She was smart, talented, and driven to succeed. She did not need to lean on anyone else to achieve what she wanted in life. Ultimately, I was proud of Helene. I know she intends to see where her artistic nature will lead her and I know she will be recognized for her efforts.
I also predict this author will be recognized for her efforts if this novel is any indication of her future efforts as a writer. Over all this one is an A+
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