‘The Horse’s Arse’ by Laura Gascoigne

The Horse’s Arse

Ageing artist Patrick spends his time running art classes in his garden shed, while working on his pet project – a large-scale series of paintings called The Seventh Seal. When his son comes up with a plan to earn his dad a few grand in return for knocking out copies of old masters, Pat agrees. But the deal isn’t all it seems.

Laura Gascoigne’s large-cast comedy is a hilarious take on modern (and less-modern) art and artists. There are more painterly references than you could shake a Royal Academy stick at, and the author’s appealing tongue-in-cheek style delivers a clever and well-observed tale that centres on the British attitude to works of art.

The characters are a fascinating lot, including a bevy of would-be artists, wheeler-dealer gallery owners, investigative reporters, the Police Arts and Antiques Unit and (of course), the Russian Mafia. Part crime-thriller, part cultural commentary, you won’t need a degree in art history to appreciate the wit, the humour and the clever references, and if you’re not careful, you might catch yourself considering the future of modern art.

A thoroughly entertaining read that’s as different from anything else as it’s possible to get.

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