In the Full Light of the Sun
by Clare Clark
Publication Date: July 9, 2019
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Hardcover, Paperback, & eBook
Genre: Historical Fiction
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.
“As compelling as it is expansive… In an age that has apparently lost faith in experts and verifiable sources of information, Clark’s fictionalization of the Wacker affair stands as a salutary tale for the post-truth era.” —The Guardian
“[Clark] excels at evoking the febrile tensions of the Weimar Republic… A gripping and ultimately moving story about art, artifice and authenticity.” —The Mail on Sunday
“With great skill and sympathy, Clark evokes a febrile society in which politics, love and art offer no certainties, and the ground always threatens to open beneath her characters’ feet.” —The Sunday Times
“Set over the decade of the Nazis’ rise to power, In the Full Light of the Sun loosely follows the real-life mystery of whether paintings apparently by Van Gogh that were exhibited in Berlin in the 1920s were forgeries…The most enjoyable mystery here is the matter of whether anyone is really their authentic self.” —The Times (UK)
“An engrossing read.” —Image Magazine Ireland
“Clark’s beautiful writing is as dense and layered as thick, Post-Impressionist oils.” —Tablet
“A completely fascinating novel about the early 20th century art world and its many dubious machinations. Expertly researched, compellingly narrated and full of potent resonance today.” —William Boyd, author of Sweet Caress
“Clare Clark casts her spell of time and place with casual elegance and no apparent tricks – yet caught me up in this juicy story of colossal art fraud, the passions and intrigues of her vivid and moving characters – and the truly terrifying rise of the Nazi party, with all its contemporary echoes. The atmosphere of this book lingers on.” —Laline Paull, author of The Bees
“I loved In the Full Light of the Sun, a novel about deception, self-deception, truth, love and lies that will enthrall anyone fascinated by Van Gogh, the art world and Berlin in the 1920s. Written with verve and assurance it is both engaging and humane.” —Amanda Craig, author of the Lie of the Land
“In her gripping new novel Clare Clark paints a picture of Weimar Berlin in which surface glitter hides sinister and bitter truths. Page by page she brings secret lives into the light; nothing: not love, not art, not politics, is what it seems, and few escape the brutal forces that emerge.” —Stella Tillyard, author of Aristocrats
“A wonderful novel: passionate, intelligent, humane, it held me from the first page to the last. Van Gogh’s fleeting genius—achingly out of reach, the pull so strong—is wonderfully evoked; and the house of cards that was the Weimar Republic provides the perfectly rendered backdrop for a story about our willingness to deceive in the pursuit of beauty.” —Rachel Seiffert, author of A Boy in Winter
“Clark’s mastery of historic and artistic details merges with skillful plotting and compelling characters in this accomplished novel. A suspenseful, atmospheric portrait of Berlin during Hitler’s rise.”—Kirkus
“Infused with Clark’s signature attention to historical detail…Evocative prose and excellent pacing make this fine historical a must-read for art history buffs.”—Publishers Weekly
About the Author
CLARE CLARK is the author of four novels, including The Great Stink, which was long-listed for the Orange Prize and named a Washington Post Best Book of the Year, and Savage Lands, also long-listed for the Orange Prize. Her work has been translated into five languages. She lives in London.
Coffee and Ink’s Review
I loved this complicated, masterful novel loosely based on a true story involving Van Gogh forgeries in 1920s and 30s Berlin. Art critics, art collectors, artists and art forgers crowd the pages and fill the book with their foibles and passions. Front and center is Van Gogh, as his biographer, Julius, begins divorce proceedings against his wife. Van Gogh is Julius’s life and his soul mate. The painter’s torments and passions, often quoted from his letters to his brother Theo, follow him like a swirling mass of stars as Julius goes about his daily life. When Rachmann, the novice art collector, enters his life, his innocence and determination haunt Julius too, as he remembers what it felt like to be in the young man’s position.
Surrounding them is a terrible inflation, but Julius is sure he has enough money to get his household through, though his wife’s demands include her shocking theft of his own personal Van Gogh. Rachmann brings him found art and Julius pronounces upon it, but this is where the story begins to take a darker turn, just as the society around them does.
There is everything to love about this novel, it’s fulsome, literary, and utterly engrossing. There are special authors and books, even with as much as I read, which bring a more potent light into my life—I was reaching for this book even as I was waking up in the morning, and it lingered in my mind during the day until I could get home and pick it up again. I live for books like this one, and I can hardly describe the feeling, except to call it a deep satisfaction.
(And to make the review even a little more personal than I should, Julius reminded me of the kid in Jay Bennet’s novel “Deathman, Do Not Follow Me.” Danny goes for his school assignment to visit a Van Gogh and the painting speaks to him. The next day, he returns for another look and knows it’s not the same painting…)
Blog Tour Schedule
Monday, July 22
Review at Rebecca is Reading
Tuesday, July 23
Review at Bibliophile Reviews
Thursday, July 25
Feature at Diana_bibliophile
Friday, July 26
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books
Monday, July 29
Review at Passages to the Past
Tuesday, July 30
Review at A Bookish Affair
Friday, August 2
Review at Mama’s Reading Corner
Monday, August 5
Review at Amy’s Booket List
Wednesday, August 7
Feature at Let Them Read Books
Friday, August 9
Review at Book Reviews from Canada
During the Blog Tour, we are giving away three copies of In the Full Light of the Sun by Clare Clark! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.
– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on August 9th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US & Canada only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.