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The Prize: A Novel by Jill Bialosky



The Prize: A Novel
Author: Jill Bialosky
Publisher: Counterpoint (2015)
Genre: literary fiction
Hardcover Edition: 348 pages
Source: Library copy

This novel grabbed me from the opening paragraphs and I seldom put it down until I had finished it. Is it the author’s voice creating the connection? Is it her portrayal of the art world: galleries, artists, those who sell art? Was it the characters she created?

At the center of her story is a man who perceives he is trying to hold on to his moral center in the face of money, power, ambition and living. Edward Darby, father, son and husband is a partner in an art gallery and he represents an artist who has made a major impact on the world art scene. The story is concerned with betrayal but also with the sustaining power of love.

Not all critics have been kind to this book. Some have read the characters as not well-drawn and the themes as less than high-minded. Goodreads gave it a 3.5 rating and focused on its theme of betrayal. Kirkus Reviews put it on the Best Books of 2015 list. Clearly, it is a novel that provokes different reactions.

The author Jill Bialosky is the author of 4 collections of poetry, two previous novels and a recent memoir that became a best seller and a critical favorite. She knows how to pull a reader with her prose. This look at life in the art world certainly holds interest for readers who know little of that environment. Edward, the protagonist of this tale demonstrates his temptations and his faults. But this reader always turned the page wondering what he would do next, always hoping for the best for him and those he loved.

See www.jillbialosky.com for more information. She is a writer worth exploring. Not only does she write in different genres, she is also an editor. Her website, filled with interviews and information offers some very interesting reading.

I don’t wonder if I will read her again; but which of her publications will I chose? It may well be her voice as a writer that I do not want to resist. It takes hold of me and I hold on to it for the read.