Sunday, April 30, 2006

False Impression

While Jeffrey Archer may not be my favorite author, he is the author of my favorite book of all time. So his books always come with big expectations attached. He's been quite versatile too, penning sprawling epics(Kane & Abel), quickfire thrillers(Shall We Tell The President), novels on con games(Not a penny more, Not a penny less) as well as political novels. False Impression is a thriller set in the art world and though far from being a classic or an epic, it is a fast read.

Behind False Impression is a painting by Van Gogh, Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear. After it is the owner of a Finance company, Fenston, who has made a habit out of lending money to owners of great works of art and then finding a way to gain possession of the painting when the money is due. This time he wants to lay his hands on Gogh's self-portrait but one of his own employees, Anna, is determined to prevent that. And the events of 9/11 force them both to change their plans.

The events of 9/11 are closely linked to the story since one of the key characters is actually in the North Tower of the WTC when the plane crashes into it. The consequences of what happened that day make even simple things(like flying to Europe) exponentially more difficult for the people in the novel. So it is used more as a plot point but doesn't feel too exploitative.

All books and movies dealing with paintings have one key plot point and Archer too resorts to the same. So a key aspect of the book is in a way, predictable. But he manages to keep the story moving with a number of smaller twists and surprises. There are also a huge number of characters and most of them have some kind of a backstory(usually with some suspense involved). That helps move the book along too.


At 3:58 AM, Blogger bl@her said...

I would really appreciate it if Archer retires.

At 5:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

wats u r All time Fav book ???

At 10:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah, what is your all time fav book?

and, this one-"Fenston, who has made a habit out of lending money to owners of great works of art and then finding a way to gain possession of the painting when the money is due." Sounds pretty intriguing! The movie buff I am, am thinking of Prithviraj in Kana Kanden and how had he set his eyes on a painting, he'd probably do what the character in this book does!

At 11:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kane & Abel is my all time favorite, read 5-6 times. Always had water in my eyes reading that page which contains the letter from kane to abel after he is dead.

I had this book(false inpression) in mind but drawnback by average reviews.

At 2:12 PM, Blogger Munimma said...

I haven't read Archer in a long time. During college, he was one of my favorites. I read all his books until then. A Quiver full of arrows was nice. I liked Not a penny more... and the prodigal daughter. I don't think I read any of his after 4th estate.

Wasn't he in some kind of scandal sometime back?

At 6:09 PM, Blogger Me too said...

Me too had been a big fan of Jeffrey Archer during my school/college days. 'Kane and Abel' is my all time fav. too.

Munimma, yes, he always is!

At 11:31 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

blaher, why so much anger at him?!

anon, kane & abel. and looks like it shares that distinction with a few other readers too :)

ram, lol. actually fenston is exactly like prithviraj in KK :)

anon, know exactly what u mean :)

munimma, i think i stopped reading archer with '4th estate' too. it was so much like kane & abel that i felt he was just trying to recreate his old magic(and not really succeeding)

me too, join the club :)

At 11:28 AM, Blogger bl@her said...

Well, JA is not exactly a one-hit-wonder, but his style over years of writing, has become extensively repetitive and predictable since First among equals: a sign of down-hill. Nothing against him, but I just feel his hey-days are long gone.

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