The Opposite of Art
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Howard Books / 2011 / Paperback

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The Opposite of Art

Howard Books / 2011 / Paperback

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Stock No: WW583486

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Product Description

A poor woman in a shabby Los Angeles apartment receives an original oil painting by one of modern art's great masters, easily worth half a million dollars. Although the artist has been dead for a quarter century, the painting appears to have been recently completed. When the world's foremost authority on the artist's work pronounces it authentic, three lives are destined to collide: the sketch artist and roustabout at a traveling Mexican circus who longs to paint the face of God, the daughter the sketch artist does not know he has, and the man who plans to kill them both.

Product Information

Title: The Opposite of Art
By: Athol Dickson
Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 384
Vendor: Howard Books
Publication Date: 2011
Dimensions: 8.44 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 1416583483
ISBN-13: 9781416583486

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Publisher's Description

A great artist is cast into the icy Harlem River by a hit-and-run driver. His heart stops, and he sees something that defies description. Presumed dead by all who knew him and obsessed with the desire to paint the inexpressible, he embarks on a pilgrimage to seek help from holy men around the globe. But is it possible to see eternity without becoming lost within it? After a quarter of a century, when the world begins to whisper that he may be alive, two people come looking for the artist: the daughter he never knew existed, and the murderer who hit him on the bridge all those years ago.

Author Bio

Athol Dickson is the publisher of the popular news website,, and the author of seven novels and the bestselling memoir, The Gospel according to Moses. His novels of suspense and magical realism have been honored with three Christy Awards and an Audie Award, and compared to the work of Octavia Butler (by Publisher’s Weekly) and Flannery O’Connor (by The New York Times). He and his wife live in Southern California.

Athol Dickson's The Opposite of Art is written the way a picture is painted. There are highlights and subdued lights. There is composition. There are details that add up to make story – and a message for those willing to see it.

After a near-death experience reveals to him something he calls "the Glory," master painter Sheridan Ridler spends his life trying to find it again. As he travels, searching for a worldview that can give him answers, he slowly comes to grips with his own selfishness and acknowledges that the glory of God is greater than he can paint.

In describing Ridler's journey, Dickson does not shy away from portraying the dark points of humanity. People are beaten, bombs go off, innocence is lost, and all the brokenness of the world is revealed in full force. However, these conditions and circumstances aren’t dwelt on as the point of the story; they are the shadows that contrast with the highlights in the painting. Different world religions get a compelling look from an artist's perspective. In the end, Ridler's redemption is the picture that sends another lost soul searching.

Dickson has created a beautifully wrought story. It is majestic as art is majestic, with light and shadows coming together to create a unified image. It also shows truth as art tells truth – to some, it will be picture of the wonder of God, but to others, it will miss the mark. The story ends on such an abstract note that some people will be unsatisfied with the picture they've been painted. Ridler's soul searching continually points him to the higher glory of God, but Christianity as we know it isn’t definitively described. That does not mean it is not there to be found, but some will be disappointed with the ambiguity.

The Opposite of Art is an intriguing story, its light and darkness together forming a picture that reflects truth but only as art reflects truth. The reader is left in many ways to draw his or her own conclusions. This book isn't for children, but I personally enjoyed its almost fantastical storytelling and its portraits of people and places that solidly reflect the problems with the world's attempts to construct God. Ridler's search represents the world's need for Him, and it echoes Moses' words in Exodus 33:18: "And he said, 'Please, show me Your glory.'" Kacey Heinlein,

Editorial Reviews

"Dickson's writing paints glorious pictures of each exotic locale, while weaving a most compelling story that includes elements of religion, art, murder, and redemption. Highly recommended read to lovers of art and suspense. Completely enjoyable."
"Exquisitely written, meticulously researched, and richly detailed, Athol Dickson's The Opposite of Art is a fascinating and magical journey into the worlds of art and faith, murder and intrigue."
"After reading the first chapter, I felt an overwhelming need to know what happened next. Forget the ringing phone, never mind dinner, tell the children to pipe down—I had to keep reading. And I discovered that powerful opening was followed by a fully-developed story satisfying in every way. The Opposite of Art is a beautiful novel."
"The Opposite of Art draws the reader in a way seldom accomplished in a novel. A powerful, moving story of reconciliation and redemption. Dickson has written another page-turner."
"Masterful imagery, unforgettable characters, and a compelling journey in search of answers to the fundamental questions of life. A book to be savored, themes to be discussed with friends, and a story to treasure for years to come."
"The Opposite of Art is classic Athol Dickson: a powerful, well-crafted story with thoughtful symbolism and deep resonance. A masterpiece! Dickson had better clear a shelf for all the awards this book will win."
"Dickson’s novel shimmers on the page like a work of art itself, inviting readers to step beyond the evocative prose into the deeper truths within its pages. At once suspenseful and captivating, The Opposite of Art is impossible to put down and impossible to forget."
"The Opposite of Art is mesmerizing, intriguing, and inspiring; a story that stays with you long after the last page."
"Athol's passionate, lyrical storytelling reminds me a bit of Salman Rushdie's Shalimar the Clown. Sheridan Ridler's artistic search for Glory is a journey into hope, and I'm profoundly grateful for the privilege of going along."
"The Opposite of Art pulled me in from the first page and held me captive. Characters that are richly drawn, a plot that twists and turns. What a stunning read!"

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