Tuesday, July 5, 2011

THE MUSIC LESSON by Katharine Weber

A 41-year-old woman should know better than to get involved with a charismatic 25-year-old Irish revolutionary in an art heist. She's romantically involved with him, too, and I guess that is supposed to explain her ridiculous behavior. Patricia Dolan is an American art historian of Irish descent, recovering from the death of her child and the subsequent dissolution of her marriage and is therefore susceptible to the persuasiveness of Mickey O'Driscoll. Still, I just don't buy it. She seems to live in a dream world, especially while renting a house in rural Ireland, and it's obvious that she's being used. It also seems a little farfetched and certainly foolhardy that Mickey would trust Patricia with housing a stolen Vermeer being held for ransom. She periodically extricates the painting from its hiding place and removes the protective glass to see it more clearly. Her carelessness in the handling of this priceless treasure will obviously become her undoing but not in the way you might expect. Basically, I guess I'm just fed up with books about smart women with no sense when it comes to men, especially handsome men with no scruples. Somehow women authors get away with this, and I don't think we'd be as likely to accept these characterizations from male authors. In any case, I'm sure I'm missing the point, which must have to do with Patricia's shame and anguish when she finds out the terrible price that she has paid for her dimwittedness. There is a twist at the end, but it doesn't undo the tragedy that's taken place or my exasperation with the narrator.

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