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The Artist's Portrait

The Artist's Portrait

‘An intriguing read with compelling descriptions of early 20th-century Sydney in all its squalor, debauchery and fascinating historical detail.’ Who Weekly

A story about art, murder, and making your place in history.

Whatever it was that drew me to Muriel, it wasn’t her charm.

In 1992, morning sickness drives Jane to pre-dawn walks of her neighbourhood where she meets an unfriendly woman who sprays her with a hose as she passes by. When they do talk: Muriel Kemp eyes my pregnant belly and tells me if I really want to succeed, I’d get rid of the baby.

Driven to find out more about her curmudgeonly neighbour, Jane Cooper begins to investigate the life of Muriel, who claims to be a famous artist from Sydney’s bohemian 1920s. Contemporary critics argue that legend, rather than ability, has secured her position in history. They also claim that the real Muriel Kemp died in 1936.

Murderer, narcissist, sexual deviant or artistic genius and a woman before her time: Who really is Muriel Kemp?
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Genre: Fiction & Related Items / Modern & Contemporary Fiction (post C 1945)

On Sale: 26th September 2019

Price: £13.99

ISBN-13: 9780733640940

Reviews

'this novel is intriguing, evocative and had me catching my breath'
Joanna Nell, author of The Single Ladies of the Jacaranda Retirement Village
a great addition to the Australian literary scene, a quiet, thought-provoking achiever, that doesn't overstate its case when it comes to gender and creative work, but still manages to say so much.
Mascara Literary Review
A compelling new voice in Australian fiction. A story that deserves to be told. I couldn't put it down.
Nikki Gemmell, award-winning and bestselling author
Keys is masterful in her employment and exploitation of narrative techniques... The Artist's Portrait is a genre-bending novel that embraces all its contradictions, at once an undertaking of murder mystery, biography, drama and art history. Julie Keys successfully makes the reader question what exactly it is that they are reading, all the while scrambling to turn to the next page. This is a work of smart, moving and gripping Australian fiction.
Readings blog
Top Autumn Reads review
The New Daily
definitely worth a read, definitely worth suggesting to your book club
The Newtown Review of Books
an absorbing and fast moving story that waltzes elegantly between the past in the 1920s and the recent past of the 1990s... Julie Keys writes as powerfully as the story she tells. This is one of those 'can't put it down' books which readers so crave.
Living Arts Canberra
The Artist's Portrait announces the arrival of a compelling new voice in homegrown fiction. The premise is fantastic... The historical nuances of this book were so authentic that it sent me and other early readers googling to see if Kemp was indeed a real figure of the art world... Steeped in intrigue, The Artist's Portrait evaluates the struggle for greatness, particularly in women, looking at the role of criticism and scandal in the making of a legend. If you loved The Last Painting of Sara de Vos then you need to get your hands on this.
The Booktopian
A compelling new voice in Australian fiction. A story that deserves to be told. I couldn't put it down.
Nikki Gemmell, award-winning and bestselling author
'this novel is intriguing, evocative and had me catching my breath'
Joanna Nell, author of The Single Ladies of the Jacaranda Retirement Village
a very accomplished debut
Yarra Plenty Regional Library blog
An intriguing read with compelling descriptions of early 20th-century Sydney in all its squalor, debauchery and fascinating historical detail.
Who Weekly
Review TO COME
Australian Women's Weekly
Review
Queensland Reviewers Collective
a very layered novel, and one I found intriguing
Ashleigh Meikle blog
review
Geraldton Guardian