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Richly drawn and sharply observed, A Nearly Perfect Copy is a smart and affecting novel of family and forgery set amidst the rarefied international art world.
Elm Howells has a loving family and a distinguished career at an elite Manhattan 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, and, 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.
"Clever, wry. . . . Amend makes her characters immediately real, depicting their complicated desires and decisions in a highly enjoyable, nearly perfect novel." —Publishers Weekly, starred and boxed review
"Allison Amend has given us a flawlessly rendered, totally engrossing, class-and-continent hopping story about the day to day struggles of marriage and loss, the commerce and caprice of high art, the reality of being talented and ambitious when talent and ambition are not enough, and the ethics of cloning. 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, whose pitch-perfect observations call to mind Jonathan Franzen and Jennifer Egan. The complicated, completely fascinating characters (built with such human sympathy), 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. Provenance is earned in more than the expected ways! A Nearly Perfect Copy is 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
"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. . . . Her exploration of the ethics and the mechanics of the art world provide charm and enjoyment ... A provocative and likable read." —Kirkus Reviews