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    The moment Sam Solomon casts his eyes on a stunning erotic drawing that hangs in the apartment of a dying art dealer, he finds himself caught in a tide of confusion and longing. The art dealer has hired Sam to write his memoirs and yet manages to withhold crucial information about his life. Sam suspects, however, that the drawing, called Vanitas, has a dramatic story behind it that might answer questions that the art dealer has refused to address: who created the drawing, and the events surrounding a falsely authenticated 19th century French painting that nearly destroyed the art dealer's career.

    "Thousands of miles behind him was the continent of America, and hours ahead lay the British Isles, somewhere in the vaporous dawn. Leaning his forehead against the airplane window, Sam Solomon told himself: I am forty, I am nowhere. So many lost opportunities, lost lovers, he thought as he looked down on the dark plain of the Atlantic, wondering what would happen if there weren't some major shift in his life.
    Just then the plane lurched. Next to him a sleeping Indian woman jerked awake with a chorus of silver arm bangles. A drowsy flight attendant ambling down the aisle with an empty coffeepot dealing from her fingers stiffened where she stood, grabbing the back of the nearest seat. The aircraft almost seemed to rear up before it began plummeting."

    "Olshan’s novels are novels of great obsession, of transcendent moments of perfect love set against a backdrop of hovering betrayal and death. He works hard to create a realist texture of both mundane and telling details.”
    The Guardian (London)