The Cover Artist

Micou’s Oscar Lemoine is a New Yorker who draws gruesome nude caricatures for a magazine called Lowdown. Lemoine’s work scandalizes his celebrity subjects, infuriates readers, and of course, sells many, many magazines. Nonplussed by his notoriety, Lemoine flees to a French resort town. Here he stumbles into a campy affair with a woman named Veronique. Lemoine doesn’t know that Veronique is married, and much of the novel is built around the ensuing high jinks. Unfortunately, the reader does know, and those high jinks wear awfully thin. In The Cover Artist, Micou writes easy, engaging prose, but where satire is concerned he is something of a gongmeister: The town’s most celebrated artist is a man who paints with his mother’s menstrual blood. And then there’s Lemoine’s black labrador, Elizabeth, who paints a series of highly acclaimed Expressionist works. As the novel plods along, the relationship between Lemoine and the faithful, genetically superior Elizabeth becomes cloying and precious. One finishes wishing Lemoine had left his damn dog in the car. B-

The Cover Artist
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