Tuesday, July 17, 2007

'Lulu Meets God and Doubts Him' by Danielle Ganek

ISBN: 0670038660
Format: Hardcover, 288pp
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)

Lulu Meets God and Doubts Him is the story of a painting and the people who come into contact with it — the gallery receptionist Mia, the owner of the gallery Simon, the crazy artist Dane, the muse Lulu, the dead artist Finelli, the art specialist Zach, and the myriad of collectors. From the first glimpse of the masterpiece to the auction where it sells for millions, the story is captivating.

Mia is working as a receptionist in a second-rate gallery while nurturing the desire to be a painter. But what she thought would be an ‘in’ to the art world turns into five years of never admitting her artistic desire to anyone. That is when the painting shows up to change everything.

As each character comes into contact with the painting and Mia, her life changes. After the violent death of Finelli, the artist, the price skyrockets on the painting. In step several characters appear, claiming that they had a hold on it or that it was a gift to them. With the collectors after it and Lulu the muse in the picture, the tension builds as they all try to outsmart each other.

Mia and Lulu become friends. We watch their friendship grow out of a painting and a violent death and it makes complete sense. Mia also forms an attachment to Zach, the super hunky art specialist, but he might not be as free as he seems.

A big part of what drives the book forward are the wonderful characters. Obviously Danielle Ganek knows who she is writing about; these characters are practically jumping off the page. Not only does she know her subject, but she can also reach in and pull the laughter from it. Humor as well as heartache fill the pages of this wonderful first novel.

Like a painting, Lulu Meets God and Doubts Him will speak to some part of you. The desire to be something more, to realize your dream — those are things that each of us can relate to. This might not be classic literature but it is a really good time.

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