"Based on the short and troubled life of expressionist painter Egon Schiele (1890-1918), Scott's ambitious novel examines the artistic imperative and its obsessive nature, the power of social conventions and fabric of life in Vienna at the turn of the century. Weaving her story around Schiele's 24-day stay in a village jail on charges of seducing the young girls who modeled for his unrestrained sketches, Scott ( Fading , My Parmacheneok Belle ) develops assorted narrative threads. The strongest of these tell of Vallie Neuzil, Schiele's sweets-loving, uninhibited mistress whom he abandons to marry the conventional Edith Harms, and, in first-person, of one of the girls from the village, whose life and memories continue nearly to the present. Scott's intricate approach to her subject(s) is fully imagined and authoritatively handled, yet the novel is finally cool and somehow hollow, more like an innovative treatise on impulse, pain and love than a story of flesh-and-blood people whose suffering and triumphs matter. "
"Based on the life of Expressionist painter Egon Schiele (1890-1918), this brilliant new novel by the author of The Closest Possible Union ( LJ 4/1/88) moves forward and backward in time as it circles around one pivotal incident: the artist's imprisonment in 1912 on charges of seduction and corrupting minors. Diverse narrative voices and shifting chronological perspectives create a potentially confusing structure; yet this story is so intriguing, and Scott's richly textured style so mesmerizing, that one is completely captivated. Like Schiele himself, who is "a victim to his senses, forced to inhale, ingest, absorb the world," and like the teenage girl involved in the false seduction charge who cannot stay away from the artist's cottage, the reader too becomes something of a voyeur, lured by the rich descriptions of turn-of-the-century Vienna and the dark nuances of Schiele's voracious imagination. A dazzling, disturbing collage of a novel."
Elise Chase, Forbes Lib., Northampton, Mass.