Book Review – The Gallerist ~ Plus Zoom Interview with Michael Levitt

What a great read.

I really can’t tell you how much I loved The Gallerist, a first time thriller by WA author Michael Levitt and published by Fremantle Press..

When you learn that the author is also a surgeon and a health bureaucrat, and, you assume, not only a lover of Australian art but also a serious collector, the story line and all the colour and movement around it has a real feel, if I can put it that way.

For example, the protagonist Mark is a retired surgeon who has recently opened a small gallery in Mt Lawley, and lives nearby. He is still grieving the loss of his wife of many years.

Mark’s new, ordered existence is suddenly put in turmoil when an older, seemingly unsophisticated woman enters his gallery and presents him with a powerful picture for appraisal. He immediately suspects it is a ‘Devlin’.

He and Linda, who Mark meets soon after he begins inquiring into the provenance of the work, then together embark on something of a treasure hunt to find the answer. The action that follows moves along at a sharp pace and keeps you right on the edge of your seat.

And is there a love match in the air as well? And how will the widowed Mark’s family and friends respond to that prospect?

As things develop you are introduced to a range of Australian painters, especially local ones, including Freo ones.

Fakes in the art world loom.

Lots of name dropping in the process, but it’s all good fun.

Ditto with places to eat and drink in Mt Lawley and South Perth.

Reflections on how the media work add interesting tidbits.

But it’s the machinations of the art world, how to be a successful gallerist, that is educational. Trust is the by-word. But does it, can it, exist in the world of the gallerist, any gallerist, including Mark?

No more need be said.

Buy this book and read it soon.

It’s a page turner. You won’t want to put it down.

But it is also a warm-hearted book.

Perhaps there’s a movie producer in Freo already considering the possibilities? Kate Blanchett as Linda?

As I say, I really can’t tell you how much I loved this book.

The author, Michael Levitt, kindly agreed to talk with our editor, Michael Barker about the book, just how autobiographical it is, the challenge of writing his first work of fiction, and what the future holds. Here’s our Zoom video interview. Enjoy!

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