August Book of the Month: The Improbability of Love
A hybrid of social satire, romance and whodunnit, The Improbability of Love by Hannah Rothschild is the perfect summer read.
Annie is recovering from a painful break-up when she chances upon a dusty painting in a junk shop. Unbeknownst to her, it's a lost Rococo masterpiece - a Watteau with a Royal provenance and a terrifying connection to Germany's Nazi past. While Annie takes her first tentative steps towards a new career (and new love) in London's glittering art world, some of its most shady characters are preparing to hunt her, and her priceless painting, down .
An industry insider, Rothschild writes brilliantly about the art world, with a fabulously gossipy tone not unlike her hero Evelyn Waugh. Shortlisted for this year's Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction and winner of the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize, The Improbability of Love will keep you gripped as well as amused - and offers a fascinating insight into the shadowy hinterlands of London's elegant art scene.
You can get more information about the inspiration for the novel, and Hannah's experiences in the art world, on her website.
What the critics said:
"A deliciously wicked satire ... It's exquisitely written, shimmering with eye-catching detail, whether describing works of art or the dishes on display at an extravagant banquet. Beneath all that, there's a serious debate about the value we put on things - whether it's art or relationships - and the prices we're prepared to pay. A masterpiece." - Daily Mail
"The novel is a fast-paced imbroglio of skullduggery, dirty dealing, even murder, and finishes with a sort of James Bond flourish when the British security services finally intervene." - Lynn Barber, The Sunday Times
"Clever, funny, beguiling…Hannah Rothschild’s first novel is a meditation on both great art and human passion, and as such reads like a confection concocted by Anita Brookner and Judith Krantz. Her imagined painting of a fête galante by the greatest artist of the Rococo is as scholarly, passionate and enticing as her portrait of the fabulously wealthy, largely philistine and possibly criminal, bunch that pursues it is not." - Amanda Craig, The Independent
About the author:
Hannah Rothschild is a writer and film director. Her documentary feature films have appeared on the BBC and HBO, and at international film festivals. She has written film scripts for Ridley Scott and Working Title, and articles for Vanity Fair, New York Times and Vogue. Her first book, The Baroness, was published in 2012 and has been translated into six languages. In 2015 she became the chair of the National Gallery and is currently a trustee of the Tate Gallery and the Vice President of the Hay Literary Festival.
Webchat with Hannah Rothschild:
We are thrilled and delighted that Hannah will be joining us to answer your questions about The Improbability of Love, her life in London's art world and her writing career on Monday 12 September, 8.30-9.30pm (please note the slightly earlier time). Do feel free to discuss the book on the discussion thread throughout the month and then come and talk to Hannah on the night, and ask her a question or simply tell her what you think of the book. It will be a fascinating evening covering art and literature and culture in general, so please do join us…
Last updated: 5 months ago