Algonquin Books, 2015.

Review published Jan 2017.

Here's a historical novel about the first American Abstract Expressionist painters: Lee Krasner, Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock. And another woman who although fictional fits right into the group -- Alizee Benoit. It's the end of the Great Depression and the group has been hired by the WPA, the Works Progress Administration, to produce murals for public buildings. Till then, the murals have been sturdy, patriotic representational paintings. But as Alizee develops her philosophy of Abstract Expressionism they begin to learn how paintings can represent emotions rather than simply copy scenes.

To complicate the picture, we learn that Alizee is Jewish; her family, living in Berlin and Paris, may be caught up in the rising horror of the Nazi occupation of France. Even Eleanor Roosevelt joins the cast, admiring Alizee's new philosophy of art and purchasing one of her paintings.

The book moves swiftly and offers just enough detail to convince us that the author knows who these characters were. It is satisfying rainy day reading.