The Dissemblers
by Liza Campbell

The Permanent Press, 2010. ISBN 978-1-579-62205-3.
Reviewed by Doris Anne Roop-Benner
Posted on 04/17/2012

Fiction: Mainstream

Ivy always thought she would be a successful painter. She never thought that copying someone else's painting was forgery: it was just an exercise. She thought she was smarter that anyone she knew.

Georgia O'Keefe was the object of Ivy's obsession. So, when she finished art school, she moved to Santa Fe and got a job at the Georgia O'Keefe Museum so she could spend all day with her paintings. One of the things she loved most about O'Keefe was that eventually she said she was tired of painting the way she had been taught, and wanted to draw the shapes she had in her own mind. This is what Ivy wanted to do. So she copied O'Keefe's art.

Ivy made friends with Jake and Maya who were musicians and Omar, who owned a café. Jake was happy-go-lucky and he assumed the best and the worst rolled off of him. Maya was motherly, and in any situation she would know what to do. Omar saw people as bad with a few good qualities. Ivy and her friends would be intertwined in many different ways.

One night Maya stopped by and said, "I know someone who wants to buy your art." Ivy knew that the "art" she was looking at was just a copy of O'Keefe's painting, but it was one of those unexpected decisive moments that changed the course of her life. She always felt that she didn't want to die without having done something extraordinary. So, she turned to a dead artist and did imitations instead of pursuing her own work.

Ivy told herself that she wanted to be an artist more than anything else in life. But suddenly everything in her life was an obstacle, keeping her from the one thing she wanted to do—paint from her own perspective. But what was that view? And how could she fulfill her dreams without dissembling? Therein lies her predicament.

Liza Campbell holds an M.F.A. in Writing from the University of San Francisco, and a B.A. in English from Wellesley College. She is a recipient of Wellesley's Mary Elvira Stevens Fellowship. Liza currently lives and writes in Boulder, Colorado. This is her first novel. Visit her website.

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