I love this book. It is a poem. It is about strength. It is about feminism. It is about marketing. It is about politics. It is about childhood. And yes, it’s about an iconic artist and one of his lovers but it’s really about so much more if you choose to see it.  Some readers who like a straightforward narrative will most likely be discouraged with the mixed voices in this fictional biography/memoir of Basquiat and Suzanne Mallouk.But I think Clement captures the voices with an authenticity and care that may be only attributed to her personal ties to Suzanne Mallouk, the fictional widow. Living a drug and sex -fuelled life of chaos in the New York and International art scene, the colorful characters come to life while we see the reality of AIDS and overdoses and other STDs at the edges of the frenetic lifestyles. Jennifer Clement exposes the vulnerability of such large personalities without making them caricatures and you can see beauty in the tragedy. I think of a flower growing out of a crack in a dirty and dilapidated sidewalk. I finished it and just wanted to read it again.

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