It's post-World War I Berlin, and the art world is perplexed by the appearance of 32 never-before-seen Vincent Van Gogh paintings. Accusations of forgery soon follow, changing the lives of four Berliners: Matthias Rachmann, the dealer who brought the paintings to market, faces serious prison time. Meanwhile, his friends and supporters—disgruntled Van Gogh biographer Julius and ambitious artist Emmeline—must also suffer the consequences as their roles in the scheme come to light. And with the Nazis' gradual rise to power, the Jewish lawyer on the case must confront even bigger issues than Matthias' guilt or innocence.
Clare Clark has based her story on The Wacker Affair, the 1928 scandal that inspired a heated debate over the legitimacy of a dealer's Van Gogh collection. But In the Full Light of the Sun is more than a look at a fascinating moment in art history; it's also an evocative character study and snapshot of Berlin's tumultuous past. As Matthias, Julius, Emmeline, and Frank barrel toward unknown fates—passing through the city's night clubs and galleries and courtrooms—their country barrels toward another devastating war. Fans of historical fiction and The Goldfinch won't want to miss it.
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About the Book
In the Full Light of the Sun
Based on a true story, this gorgeous new novel follows the fortunes of three Berliners caught up in an art scandal—involving newly discovered van Goghs—that rocks Germany amidst the Nazis’ rise to power.
Hedonistic and politically turbulent, Berlin in the 1920s is a city of seedy night clubs and sumptuous art galleries. It is home to millionaires and mobs storming bakeries for rationed bread. These disparate Berlins collide when Emmeline, a young art student; Julius, an art expert; and a mysterious dealer named Rachmann all find themselves caught up in the astonishing discovery of thirty-two previously unknown paintings by Vincent van Gogh.
In the Full Light of the Sun explores the trio’s complex relationships and motivations, their hopes, their vanities, and their self-delusions—for the paintings are fakes and they are in their own ways complicit. Theirs is a cautionary tale about of the aspirations of the new Germany and a generation determined to put the humiliations of the past behind them.
With her signature impeccable and evocative historical detail, Clare Clark has written a gripping novel about beauty and justice, and the truth that may be found when our most treasured beliefs are revealed as illusions.
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