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2 Burnside Literature- A to Z

The Great Man

by

The Great Man Cover

 

Awards

Winner of The Pen/Faulkner Award for Fiction 2008

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

From the acclaimed author of The Epicure's Lament, a novel of literary rivalry in which two competing biographers collide in their quest for the truth about a great artist.

Oscar Feldman, the "Great Man," was a New York city painter of the heroic generation of the forties and fifties. But instead of the abstract canvases of the Pollocks and Rothkos, he stubbornly hewed to painting one subject — the female nude. When he died in 2001, he left behind a wife, Abigail, an autistic son, and a sister, Maxine, herself a notable abstract painter — all duly noted in the New York Times obituary.

What no one knows is that Oscar Feldman led an entirely separate life in Brooklyn with his longtime mistress, Teddy St. Cloud, and their twin daughters. As the incorrigibly bohemian Teddy puts it, "He couldn't live without a woman around. It was like water to a plant for him." Now two rival biographers, book contracts in hand, are circling around Feldman's life story, and each of these three women — Abigail, Maxine, and Teddy — will have a chance to tell the truth as they experienced it.

The Great Man is a scintillating comedy of life among the avant-garde — of the untidy truths, needy egos, and jostlings for position behind the glossy facade of artistic greatness. Not a pretty picture — but a provocative and entertaining one that incarnates the take-no-prisoners satirical spirit of Dawn Powell and Mary McCarthy.

Review:

"Nimble, witty and discerning, Kate Christensen is single handedly reinvigorating the comedy of manners with her smart and disemboweling novels of misanthropes, cultural and aesthetic divides, private angst, social ambition and appetites run amok." Chicago Tribune

Review:

"Christensen's writing is clear-eyed, muscular, bitingly funny, and supremely caustic about the niceties of social relations, contemporary American culture, and sexual politics." O, The Oprah Magazine

Review:

"Kate Christensen's brilliant, big-hearted skewering of greatness, of men, of the Manhattan art scene, of love, reminded me that books can be witty, and heartbreaking, and intelligent, and keep you up too late reading. How rare it is that a writer is talented enough to deliver such varied treasures in one novel, but Christensen manages it effortlessly." Heidi Julavits, author of The Uses of Enchantment

Review:

"The prose in this book is stunning; the characters fascinating, endearing, and utterly real. Kate Christensen is, quite simply, one of the finest artists writing today." Cathi Hanauer, author of Sweet Ruin and editor of The Bitch in the House

Review:

"These characters are wonderfully developed and break the stereotype of the aging female protagonist. Christensen . . . boldly has raised the bar." USA Today

Synopsis:

Christensen pens a scintillating comedy of life among the avant-garde — of the untidy truths, needy egos, and jostling for position behind the glossy facade of artistic greatness — in this PEN Faulkner Award-winning story of a New York City painter living in the heroic generation of the 1940s and 1950s.

Synopsis:

Oscar Feldman, the renowned figurative painter, has passed away. As his obituary notes, Oscar is survived by his wife, Abigail, their son, Ethan, and his sister, the well-known abstract painter Maxine Feldman. What the obituary does not note, however, is that Oscar is also survived by his longtime mistress, Teddy St. Cloud, and their daughters.

As two biographers interview the women in an attempt to set the record straight, the open secret of his affair reaches a boiling point and a devastating skeleton threatens to come to light. From the acclaimed author of The Epicure's Lament, a scintillating novel of secrets, love, and legacy in the New York art world.

About the Author

Kate Christensen is the author of the novels In the Drink, Jeremy Thrane, and The Epicure's Lament. Her essays and articles have appeared in various publications, including Salon, Mademoiselle, the Hartford Courant, Elle, and the bestselling anthology The Bitch in the House. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

salliforth, October 29, 2008 (view all comments by salliforth)
I had a little trouble getting into the insular New York art world, and the characters were not my favorite people. Interesting folks, but hard to relate. I give this book a higher ranking for its ending (where so many other books fall down). It is almost as if it were written from the ending backward. And of course, it is not about the great man, but about the women in his life (his wife, his mistress, her adoring best friend, his illegitimate daughters, his artist-sister). As other reviewers have noted, these are mostly older women with great sex lives and convoluted relationships. At the end, the great man seems totally unmasked.
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(7 of 12 readers found this comment helpful)
Alethea, September 22, 2008 (view all comments by Alethea)
Honestly, the "art world" always blows my mind - I just don't get it. Nevertheless, this novel was as much about the inner and sexual lives of older women, and as such, was a treat. I hope that's me in 40 years!
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(4 of 9 readers found this comment helpful)
Mindy88, May 10, 2008 (view all comments by Mindy88)
Older women are sexual creatures? Who knew??

Seriously, this highly enjoyable read is doubly satisfying knowing that it won the 2008 PEN/Faulkner Award. Another woman author breaks through the literary glass ceiling. Hurray!
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(15 of 21 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780307277343
Author:
Christensen, Kate
Publisher:
Anchor Books
Subject:
General
Subject:
Adultery
Subject:
Painters
Subject:
Psychological fiction
Subject:
New york (n.y.)
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20080531
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
8.02x5.28x1.00 in. .77 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Great Man Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$7.50 In Stock
Product details 320 pages Anchor Books - English 9780307277343 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Nimble, witty and discerning, Kate Christensen is single handedly reinvigorating the comedy of manners with her smart and disemboweling novels of misanthropes, cultural and aesthetic divides, private angst, social ambition and appetites run amok."
"Review" by , "Christensen's writing is clear-eyed, muscular, bitingly funny, and supremely caustic about the niceties of social relations, contemporary American culture, and sexual politics."
"Review" by , "Kate Christensen's brilliant, big-hearted skewering of greatness, of men, of the Manhattan art scene, of love, reminded me that books can be witty, and heartbreaking, and intelligent, and keep you up too late reading. How rare it is that a writer is talented enough to deliver such varied treasures in one novel, but Christensen manages it effortlessly."
"Review" by , "The prose in this book is stunning; the characters fascinating, endearing, and utterly real. Kate Christensen is, quite simply, one of the finest artists writing today."
"Review" by , "These characters are wonderfully developed and break the stereotype of the aging female protagonist. Christensen . . . boldly has raised the bar."
"Synopsis" by , Christensen pens a scintillating comedy of life among the avant-garde — of the untidy truths, needy egos, and jostling for position behind the glossy facade of artistic greatness — in this PEN Faulkner Award-winning story of a New York City painter living in the heroic generation of the 1940s and 1950s.
"Synopsis" by , Oscar Feldman, the renowned figurative painter, has passed away. As his obituary notes, Oscar is survived by his wife, Abigail, their son, Ethan, and his sister, the well-known abstract painter Maxine Feldman. What the obituary does not note, however, is that Oscar is also survived by his longtime mistress, Teddy St. Cloud, and their daughters.

As two biographers interview the women in an attempt to set the record straight, the open secret of his affair reaches a boiling point and a devastating skeleton threatens to come to light. From the acclaimed author of The Epicure's Lament, a scintillating novel of secrets, love, and legacy in the New York art world.

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