Alizee Benoit, an American painter working for the Works Progress Administration (WPA), vanishes in New York City in 1940 amid personal and political turmoil. No one knows what happened to her. Not her Jewish family living in German occupied France. Not her artistic patron and political compatriot, Eleanor Roosevelt. Not her close knit group of friends, including Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, and Lee Krasner. And, some seventy years later, not her great niece, Danielle Abrams, who while working at an auction house uncovers enigmatic paintings hidden behind recently found works by those now famous Abstract Expressionist artists. Do they hold answers to the questions surrounding her missing aunt? Entwining the lives of both historical and fictional characters, and moving between the past and the present, The Muralist plunges readers into the divisiveness of pre-war politics and the largely forgotten plight of European refugees refused entrance to the United States. It captures both the inner workings of today's New York art scene and the beginning of the vibrant and quintessentially American school of Abstract Expressionism. B. A.
Shapiro is a master at telling a riveting story while exploring provocative themes. In Alizee and Danielle she has created two unforgettable women, artists both, who compel us to ask, What happens when luminous talent collides with inexorable historical forces? Does great art have the power to change the world? And to what lengths should a person go to thwart evil?
B. A. Shapiro is the author of the award-winning New York Times bestseller The Art Forger. She has taught sociology at Tufts University and creative writing at Northeastern University and lives in Boston with her husband, Dan, and their dog, Sagan. Her website is www.bashapirobooks.com.