The Tattoo Artist

The Tattoo Artist

Book - 2005
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Random House, Inc.
Jill Ciment’s writing has been called “luminous . . . sad, affecting” (Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times) and “rich in observation and insight” (Merle Rubin, Los Angeles Times).

Now in her new novel, her third, Jill Ciment turns her eye to a painter’s world in the early years of the twentieth century and tells the story of an American woman, an acclaimed artist who’s been stranded on an island for thirty years.

The novel opens in New York in the 1970s. Sara Ehrenreich has returned to New York to much fanfare—Life magazine has arranged for her return and is doing a big feature on her. Sara had been living on a remote speck in the South Pacific for three decades, and she has returned to the city of her childhood and early adulthood, a city made totally different by thirty years of technological and social change.

As Sara experiences all of the sensations of entering a new world, the novel flashes back to tell the story of her life, of herself at eighteen, a Lower East Side shopgirl meeting the man who changes the course of her life—Philip Ehrenreich, a banker’s son and revolutionary, an avant-garde artist who
hasn’t made art in years.

Philip introduces Sara to everything from Dada to Marx, from free love to automatic drawing, from trayf to absinthe. Philip sees her art as his chance to create by proxy. They fall in love, marry, and form a collaboration, and by the late 1920s, she takes her place among a small group of famous American Modernists.

As the Depression hits and his family money and her corps of collectors vanish, Philip and Sara are forced to embrace the proletarian life that he had romanticized and that she had fled. In desperation, they sell what is left of his prized collection of Oceanic masks, and their lives are forever altered when one of Philip’s patrons hires him to collect masks in the South Seas.

Sara and Philip book passage on a Japanese ship that drops them off on Ta’un’uu, an island famous both for its masks and its full-body tattooing. The ship that was to pick them up never returns, bewilderment turns into panic, then resignation, and, finally, to a peace neither husband nor wife has known before. When the Second World War breaks out months later and Philip and half the men of the island are killed by Japanese soldiers, Sara turns to her painting for salvation. She learns the art of tattooing and begins the painting that will be her masterpiece—the tattooing of her own body.

A beautifully written novel, powerful in its portrayal of the world it creates and the ideas it is taken up with—ideas of immortality through art, and of the here-and-now-ness of life and experience.

Baker & Taylor
Sara Ehrenreich, an acclaimed American painter who has spent the past thirty years living on a remote South Pacific island, returns to New York in the 1970s, in a novel that reveals the story of her life through flashbacks.

Blackwell North Amer
In her new novel, her third, Jill Ciment turns her eye to a painter's world in the early years of the twentieth century and tells the story of an American woman, an acclaimed artist who's been stranded on an island for thirty years.
The novel opens in New York in the 1970s. Sara Ehrenreich has returned to New York to much fanfare - Life magazine has arranged for her return and is doing a big feature on her. Sara had been living on a remote speck in the South Pacific for three decades, and she has returned to the city of her childhood and early adulthood, a city made totally different by thirty years of technological and social change.
As Sara experiences all of the sensations of entering a new world, the novel flashes back to tell the story of her life, of herself at eighteen, a Lower East Side shopgirl meeting the man who changes the course of her life - Philip Ehrenreich, a banker's son and revolutionary, an avant-garde artist who hasn't made art in years.
Philip introduces Sara to everything from Dada to Marx, from free love to automatic drawing, from trayf to absinthe. Philip sees her art as his chance to create by proxy. They fall in love, marry, and form a collaboration, and by the late 1920s, she takes her place among a small group of famous American Modernists.
As the Depression hits and his family money and her corps of collectors vanish, Philip and Sara are forced to embrace the proletarian life that he had romanticized and that she had fled. In desperation, they sell what is left of his prized collection of Oceanic masks, and their lives are forever altered when one of Philip's patrons hires him to collect masks in the South Seas.
Sara and Philip book passage on a Japanese ship that drops them off on Ta'un'uu, an island famous both for its masks and its tattooing. The ship that was to pick them up never returns; their bewilderment turns into panic, then resignation, and, finally, to a peace neither husband nor wife has known before. When the Second World War breaks out months later and Philip and half the men of the island are killed by Japanese soldiers, Sara turns to her painting for salvation. She learns the art of tattooing and begins the painting that will be her masterpiece - the tattooing of her own body.

Baker
& Taylor

Sara Enrenreich, an acclaimed American painter who disappeared and has spent the past thirty years as a recluse living on a remote South Pacific island, is discovered and brought back to New York by LIFE magazine, in a novel that reveals the story of her life through a series of flashbacks. 12,500 first printing.

Publisher: New York : Pantheon Books, c2005
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780375423253
0375423257
Branch Call Number: Fiction Ciment
Characteristics: 207 p. ; 22 cm

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