Literary Lenormand: The Art Forger

Amazon sucked me into another book–this time it’s The Art Forger, by B.A. Shapiro–an author I’ve never read before. So, why not write another Literary Lenormand post?

Here are the cards I drew about this book. You’ll note one row for the plot, and then another row beneath it. That’s because I wondered why the Woman card did not show up in the plot. I searched her out in the remaining cards and noted what cards were before and after her.


So, the plot is shown as: Stars, Ship, Tree, Crossroads, Fortune Teller (this is the Enchanted Lenormand, which has that as an extra card), and Fish.

Meanwhile, the Woman card’s row appears as Man, Clouds, Bear, Tower, Woman, Stork, Garden, and Scythe. Having already read the first few pages of this before it occurred to me to draw cards, I’m going to hypothesize that this row shows the back story of the protagonist’s relationship with a man who is dead before the book opens (see the Scythe at the end of this row?). It makes sense to me that the back story about her would be buried toward the bottom of the deck. I also know from the first few pages that she paints a painting for him, which I think makes sense with the Stork following her. (The painting is like their baby.) I suspect that the painting led to a lot of publicity and caused her to meet people (the Garden), but also led to a scandal when it came out that she, and not he, had painted it. In fairness, I can predict most of this from what I’ve read so far. Why’d she paint it? Well, Man, Clouds, Bear, Tower, obviously! He was anxious, full of doubt, paralyzed (Clouds), and was going to miss his deadline; she felt maternal (Bear), and they were alone together in a studio (Tower) with plenty of paint and canvas around. So she took matters into her own hands. Again, I’ve read part of this already. Though I think the back story will unfold more fully as I get further into the book (I mean, of course it will, that’s what the book is for!)

But let’s look at the top row: Stars, Ship, Tree, Crossroads, FortuneTeller, Fish. So of course there’s a Crossroads, I presume that’s what the plot will build up to. She’ll have to make a choice. The plot prior to that will pull her into a difficult situation (because why else write a book about it?) and that will lead her to the Crossroads.

The Stars–well, she is hopeful, and also uses the Internet (also Stars) at the beginning of the story. She wants to move forward (Ship) in her career, and an opportunity has arisen to do that, but the opportunity is not without its risks. But I assume she’s going to go with it, and it won’t be just the one forgery (you’ve guessed that’s what it is, right? from the title?), but will grow from that seed into an ongoing enterprise, one that is healthy and requires her to continue to be productive (the Tree). At some point it will be too much for her integrity and she’ll say no, she won’t do it any more. I think that’s the choice of the Crossroads. She wants to move on and let this be water under the bridge.

But the FortuneTeller and the Fish–I think her choice to start the forgeries will result in blackmail when she decides to stop. I think the FortuneTeller is someone telling her that unless she keeps going, her future will be bleak. And that if she sticks with it, she can continue to have a good income from it (the Fish).

But that would be a bleak ending! I foresee some sort of twist here with the FortuneTeller and the Fish. Something surprising. As I write this, my husband, talking on the phone, just wandered in and commented, “you know, these bankers, they drink like fucking fish!” Well, there’s actually a lot of drinking in the beginning of the book. So that begins to make me think about that aspect of the Fish. (Although I have to note that fish breathe water, they don’t drink it. Anyway.) Let’s see what happens. I will update this post when I am finished. Feel free to comment with spoilers; I’ll try not to look at them until I’ve finished the book!

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