The Marriage Artist by Andrew Winer

Two mysterious deaths unlock one man's past and another's future in this moving tale of art, love, and history.

When the wife of renowned art critic Daniel Lichtmann plunges to her death, she is not alone. Lying next to her is her suspected lover, Benjamin Wind, the very artist Daniel most championed. Tormented by questions about the circumstances of their deaths, Daniel dedicates himself to uncovering the secrets of their relationship and the inspiration behind Wind's dazzling final exhibition.

What Daniel discovers is a web of mysteries leading back to pre-World War II Vienna and the magnificent life of Josef Pick, a forgotten artist who may have been the twentieth century's greatest painter of love. But the most astonishing discoveryis what connects these two artists acrosshalf a century: a remarkable woman whose response to the tragedy of her generation offers Daniel answers to the questions he never knew to ask.

Ambitious, haunting, and stunningly written,
The Marriage Artist tells a universal tale of a family dramatically reshaped by the quest for personal freedom in the face of inherited beliefs, public prejudices, and the unfathomable turns of history. It is at once a provocative snapshot of contemporary marriage, the recovery of a passion that history never recorded, and a fierce reminder of the way we enlist love in our perpetual search for meaning and permanence.

Below you can find the Twitter discussion of The Marriage Artist with author Andrew Winer that took place March 2, 2011. Make sure to follow Jewish Book Council (@jewishbook) for more Twitter Book Club events!


JewishBook: Hi and welcome everyone!Thanks for joining us. We're glad to have @Andrew_Winer here with us to talk abt The Marriage Artist #JBCBooks

erikadreifus: Hi, tweeps. For the next 45 minutes or so, I'll be participating in a @JewishBook Twitter Book Club. Feel free to follow along at #JBCBooks.

erikadreifus: FYI: The title up for discussion is The Marriage Artist, by @Andrew_Winer #JBCBooks.

erikadreifus: I am so glad that @JewishBook holds these chats during lunch hour! So many chats take place when dayjobbers can't participate.#JBCBooks

elesscom: Eager to hear from @andrew_winer & readers in the book chat starting now @JewishBook #jbcbooks Who else is tweeting in for the discussion?

erikadreifus: @jewishbook Glad to be here. But Hootsuite doesn't seem to be doing so well keeping up w/the hashtag. Just me? #JBCBooks

JewishBook: I'll start off. @ Andrew_Winer, can you tell us a little abt your bkgrnd? What influenced you to write this book? #JBCBooks

Andrew_Winer: Hello all. Happy to be chatting with you. #JBCBooks

elesscom: Do we need a question to start? #Jbcbooks @JewishBook here's 1: which of the 2 plotlines was easier 2 write? Past or present?

amydominy: I'm following along #JBCbooks! Glad to be here.

Andrew_Winer: I knew I wanted to write about marriage, and somehow deal with art and the art world that I'd come from. I was a painter in NY.#JBCBooks

Andrew_Winer: At a wedding, I saw the most beautiful ketubah, realized it was a work of art that dealt with the most important matters: love, #JBCBooks

Andrew_Winer: what we owe our beloved, faith, sex, death. It all came together when I envisioned a gallery of flying people holding hands.#JBCBooks

elesscom: that's why so many ppl hang thie ketubah prominently: art + significance. Per #nytimes article , many non-Jews buying them too #jbcbooks

erikadreifus: @Andrew_Winer I see 2 questions so far: 1) Yr background/how you came 2 write this book & 2) Past/present plotlines-which easier? #JBCBooks

Andrew_Winer: @elesscom Both plotlines engaged all of my energies. At first, it felt like I was writing two books, but that quickly went away.#JBCBooks

JewishBook: @Andrew_Winer so the inspiration for Benjamin's sculptures came purely out of your imagination? #JBCBooks

BookGal102: @Andrew_Winer Are the names at the end of the book real people?#JBCBooks

Andrew_Winer: The character who most swept me up while writing was Hannah.#JBCBooks

elesscom: @andrew_winer pls tweet as fast as you can, bc time is short & interest is high, but twitter isn't being cooperative #jbcbooks@JewishBook

Andrew_Winer: That vision become Benjamin Wind's mysterious show--and it was the show I wished I'd made while still in the art world. #JBCBooks

JewishBook: @Andrew_Winer what abt the idea behind how the sculptures were cast? #JBCBooks

erikadreifus: Interesting question. RT @bookgal102: @Andrew_Winer Are the names at the end of the book real people? #JBCBooks

Andrew_Winer: @BookGal102 The last names are those of people who were sent out of Vienna to the death camps. I wanted to honor them.#JBCBooks

BookGal102: @Andrew_Winer what do you think about the relationship between abuse and love, which is the name of one chapter? #JBCBooks

Andrew_Winer: @BookGal102 I changed the first names, switched them around, which I felt more comfortable with, "fictionalizing" them.#JBCBooks

amydominy: @Andrew_Winer That's a beautiful way to honor the names! #JBCBooks

erikadreifus: @andrew_winer Since you're from art world...have you read previous #JBCBooks selection, Blue Nude, by Elizabeth Rosner? (1)

Andrew_Winer: @JewishBook Yes, I'd been asking for cosmic permission to write this book, and it came to me in the form of that vision. #JBCBooks

erikadreifus: @JewishBook Interesting that we've had two consecutive art-focused novels. #JBCBooks

Andrew_Winer: Am tweeting quickly. Slow response time. #JBCBooks

erikadreifus: @andrew_winer I love yr answer re: names. I have done something similar in my work, using a Klarsfeld book. Same reasoning.#JBCBooks

Andrew_Winer: @JewishBook Those are actual casting techniques, some of them going 100s of years back, some extremely contemporary.#JBCBooks

elesscom: Benjamin's sculptures reminded me of the post-9.11 sculpture of a person falling. Was that intended? A reference? #jbcbooks@andrew_winer

Andrew_Winer: @BookGal102 Can you clarify? "Abuse and Love"? No chapter with that title. #JBCBooks

Andrew_Winer: @erikadreifus I met Elizabeth, but haven't had a chance to read her book yet. #JBCBooks

Andrew_Winer: I wanted to use the book to ask large spiritual questions, too.#JBCBooks

BookGal102: @Andrew_Winer it seems to be a recurring theme - max and hannah, daniel and his relationships #JBCBooks

Andrew_Winer: @elesscom No, no connection. The sculptures for me were about the profoundness of connecting to others, in love, and across time.#JBCBooks

Andrew_Winer: @BookGal102 I was dealing with love at the extremes, when it runs into history. #JBCBooks

elesscom: @andrew_winer #jbcbooks. What led u 2 switch from art 2 writing? How are the creative processes similar or different? Do u still "do" art?

BookGal102: @Andrew_Winer related q, What is the significance of Max’s homosexuality to the story? its relevance in a book about marriage?#JBCBooks

Andrew_Winer: I wanted to explore the absolute limits (if there are any) of love in the historical dimension (are we limited by time's passing?)#JBCBooks

elesscom: @andrew_winer #jbcbooks Loved the book's opening, when we discover how daniel & benjamin's lives/loves intersected. any real life source?

Andrew_Winer: Was trying to tell stories in my paintings. Felt limited. Writing allows me to express more fully my angle on being in the world.#JBCBooks

Andrew_Winer: @erickadreifus Yes, 9/11 is subtly in the background. And I think you're right--the show evokes it. #JBCBooks

JewishBook: Thanks all for ur patience & endurance! @Andrew_Winer, if you could field all the q's that have been asked, we can then wrap up#JBCBooks

Andrew_Winer: @elesscom I made Daniel an art critic to get some distance on my art world experiences. Yes, some autobiography in there.#JBCBooks

Andrew_Winer: @BookGal102 Re: homosexuality. Wanted to deal with all kinds of love, love that transcended norms.#JBCBooks

Andrew_Winer: @BookGal102 Wanted to run my questions about marriage up against the boundaries. Max is my tragic vehicle. #JBCBooks

erikadreifus: @jewishbook @Andrew_Winer Thank you for the opportunity to chat abt the book. Nice to "meet" everyone! #JBCBooks

Andrew_Winer: Nice chatting with you. Thank you for the good questions! Thanks to JBC! Warmly, Andrew #JBCBooks

BookGal102: @Andrew_Winer thanks for the opportunity, Andrew! #JBCBooks

elesscom: @andrew_winer Am savoring the book. Had 2 put it down to prep for 2 book clubs & plan to finish last 50 or so pages next wk #jbcbooks

Andrew_Winer: @elesscom Glad to know. Thanks for the nice note. #JBCBooks