2007 Books #36: The Portrait of Mrs. Charbuque, by Jeffrey Ford
This lovely book, about a painter with an impossible portrait commission, pretty much forced me to drop everything nonessential and read it for two days. The prose is beautiful, and I was drawn in by the fairy-tale qualities of the story. Mrs. Charbuque wants her portrait painted, but the artist, Piambo, is not allowed to look at her. He must create her image based on what she tells him while she sits behind a screen. The daughter of a crystalogogist--a man who reads the future in snowflakes--Mrs. Charbuque is a fascinating character with secrets that are slowly revealed throughout the novel at a perfect pace, while Piambo's life is distorted by taking on the bizarre task. I highly recommend it!
Now I'm reading Ubik, which so far I love in a completely different way. My reading satisfaction level has reached new heights lately!