The Art of Her Life

a novel

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Pub Date 06 Jun 2023 | Archive Date 31 Jan 2024

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Description

At nine years old, on her first visit to a museum, Emily fell in love with Breakfast, a painting by Henri Matisse. Now a single mother, she lives in the world of art and can barely find time for her two daughters, much less for Mark, the man she loves. Her days are a jumble—she’s lost the thread of her life—but a contest at the museum where she’s the registrar gives her hope—the chance to see Breakfast again. Matisse’s words and paintings permeate her days and nights, and glancing at a note card of the painting she loves, she sees something she’s never seen before. The Art of Her Life shows the power of art to transform an ordinary life.

At nine years old, on her first visit to a museum, Emily fell in love with Breakfast, a painting by Henri Matisse. Now a single mother, she lives in the world of art and can barely find time for her...


Advance Praise

"An unsentimental, luminous story about art, illness, and complicated relationships." Kirkus Reviews

"A bold transcendent meditation on desire, memory, motherhood, and the power of art to remake a life."—Dawn Tripp, author of Georgia, a novel of Georgia O’Keeffe

"The splendid prose is tinted with the inimitable melancholy of Matisse's blue." —Howard Norman, author of The Ghost Clause

"In The Art of Her Life, Cynthia Newberry Martin shows how the unexpected turns of a life can most often only be steadied and moored by what we hold deepest inside." —Adam Braver, author of Rejoice the Head of Paul McCartney

"Cynthia Newberry Martin paints in this novel a lasting portrait of love and family, of love and perseverance, of love and beauty and care and heart." —William Lychack, author of Cargill Falls

"Matisse's art is a character in this gorgeous book." —Lindsey Mead, editor of On Being Forty(ish)


"An unsentimental, luminous story about art, illness, and complicated relationships." Kirkus Reviews

"A bold transcendent meditation on desire, memory, motherhood, and the power of art to remake a...


Available Editions

EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9781953236975
PRICE $18.95 (USD)
PAGES 314

Available on NetGalley

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Average rating from 16 members


Featured Reviews

My thanks to NetGalley and to the publisher for the opportunity to read The Art of Her Life by Cynthia Newberry Martin. An amazing, beautiful, heartbreaking book.

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This is a breathtaking book on Art, specifically, Matisse, longing, and a mother's life. I am a Cynthia Newberry Martin fan since her book, "Love Like This" which I highly recommend. "The Art of Her Life" is full of quiet reflections, that like the brush strokes in a painting, culminate in the larger masterpiece of one women's life. Highly recommended. Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.

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"That night in the kitchen, working with reason alone, I told myself to feel nothing, and I let him go. So now I'll make my own happiness. I'll be like the woman in my painting— having a nice breakfast in her hotel room and then reading. Having a perfectly fine time by herself"
—The Art of Her Life

"The Art of Her Life" is an exquisite embodiment of poetic brilliance, deftly capturing an extraordinary penchant for life despite it's peculiar composition. The author meticulously summons the presence of Henry Matisse to illustrate this beautiful tragedy. In its core, it's a holy manifestation of the salvation of art. Throughout the entire novel, life is painted with spasms of catastrophe, juxtaposing the beauty of existence with the inherent cynicism of decay. "The Art of Her Life" vehemently accommodates Matisse's melancholic blue to capture the nuances of ordinary life. Not only that, the narration blatantly borrows colours of his palette to metaphorize the emotional complexities of the human experience. Within the tapestry of this novel, there's an overwhelming presence of comforting monotony but the harsh realities of life's vices are not completely glossed over. There are echoes of gnawing loneliness and grief. The narrative pulses with a poignant honesty, inviting readers to confront the spectrum of human emotions that define our existence. "The Art of Her Life" is undeniably a humbling experience for its readers, immersing them in a world of exquisite tragedy. While the promise of a conventional happy ending remains absent, this novel didn't fail to show the opulent beauty of mundane life.

My thanks to NetGalley and to Fomite publisher for giving me the opportunity to read "The Art of Her Life" by Cynthia Newberry Martin.

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As someone who loves art history and especially the era of Matisse, I found this endlessly interesting. I read over the course of two days and could not put it down.

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One of the best books I read this year, is something I’ll recommend. The title is self-explanatory in itself. It's a beautiful story about motherhood, insecure relationships, isolating oneself, and regret that follows later. Beautiful story. After reading this book I bought Cavier so I know what it tastes like. I always wanted it but for some reason never felt like paying for it. But I did it this time because I didn't want to die thinking about what it tasted like. Life is not certain, do whatever you want, spoil yourself, and don't die without getting answers to your what-ifs.

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