Living in the capitol of the art world, I was drawn to Barabara Bourland’s novel Fake Like Me. Our narrator’s story begins in New York City. She is an unnamed painter, about to make her emergence onto the international art scene. Months before her art show in Paris, her neighbor leaves on her makeshift glue gun, sparking a fire in the building. The fire burns down the narrator’s studio, leaving her to repaint two years worth of work over the course of a summer.
Without her art, materials or home, the narrator looks to quickly mend her situation, calling art residences and retreats, all currently full for the summer. With the help of her friends, the narrator attends a fancy, upscale party in hopes of finding a rich socialite who could help her find a studio to work in for the next three months. Our narrator fortunately meets a woman who can help her.
The narrator (whose name we never learn) buys a cheap, used pick-up car in Chinatown and loads up newly bought art materials to drive upstate to a cool, hip, invite-only artist residency. As a young university student, she heard about Pine City, a group of five artists a few years older than her. When the most famous artist of Pine City commits suicide, the groups’ vibe changes from cool to mysterious, everyone wondering what the story was behind Carey Logan’s death. Over the course of a busy summer, filled with recreating her own work, the narrator accidentally discovers a story so crazy you will not see it coming.
Bourland’s unique mixture of painting description, while advancing the plot is an artwork in its own right.
Recommended to Whom: The amateur or the advanced art student, fans of Netflix’s She’s Gotta Have It and lovers of literary thrillers
Source: BookMarks, a website dedicated to news around books
Trigger Warning: This book discusses suicide and may be unsettling for some readers