Unbecoming by Rebecca Scherm

Cleveland Park LibraryBook Clubs

Unbecoming by Rebecca Scherm

Cleveland Park Mystery Book Club June selection

On June 2, 6:30 p.m., we'll discuss Unbecoming by Rebecca Scherm. In this first novel, the objets d’art produced in the Paris atelier of Zanuso et Filles by a young woman who calls herself Julie and claims to come from California are so lovely, it hardly seems fair to call them fakes. The same applies to Julie from California, who is really Grace from Garland, Tenn. Grace is constantly in a state of becoming (or of un-becoming the person she had become), discovering her true calling when she goes to work for Mauce Fine Arts Appraisal. Grace is an art scholar studying in Prague, when she gets word of arrests in a robbery back home in Garland. Despite her own role in this affair, she does something desperate and very dangerous that eventually lands her in Paris, hiding out at Jacqueline Zanuso’s chop shop. Scherm’s narrative technique can be disorienting, but her deliberately convoluted style suits Grace’s elusive nature and that of all the other dissemblers in this story. One thing that’s authentic is Grace’s love for fine objects. So while Grace claims to hate the identity she finally chooses, that of a jewel thief, she dearly loves her work. As for Grace herself, she’s a real work of art — even if she is a fake.

The Cleveland Park Mystery Book Club meets on the first Thursday of the month (except December), 6:30 p.m., at Teaism, 400 8th Street, N.W. (Gallery Place Metro).
    Unbecoming book cover