LULU MEETS GOD AND DOUBTS HIM

Danielle Ganek

 When figurative painter Jeffrey Finelli is run over by a cab in front of the Simon Pryce Gallery on the night of his first opening, the art world falls all over itself for a piece of the instantly in-demand work by the late “emerging artist.” At the center of the show is an enormous painting called Lulu Meets God and Doubts Him that becomes the object of most desire. As the artist philosophically muses before meeting his untimely end, “It represents the creative endeavor.”

After Finelli’s death, the gallery receptionist, aspiring artist and protagonist Mia McMurray,

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 When figurative painter Jeffrey Finelli is run over by a cab in front of the Simon Pryce Gallery on the night of his first opening, the art world falls all over itself for a piece of the instantly in-demand work by the late “emerging artist.” At the center of the show is an enormous painting called Lulu Meets God and Doubts Him that becomes the object of most desire. As the artist philosophically muses before meeting his untimely end, “It represents the creative endeavor.”

After Finelli’s death, the gallery receptionist, aspiring artist and protagonist Mia McMurray, finds herself at the center of the art world’s most sensational story. For suddenly everyone wants Lulu. Mia, in her clever, clear-headed voice tells the ensuing tale, the details of which she finds endlessly amusing and unavoidably alluring. While she watches a Birkin-toting wannabe collector, a well-muscled Irish artist, a real estate baron, and niece/muse of the artist, Lulu Finelli, duke it out over the oversized piece, Mia, a la Holly Golightly, finds her own creative outlet and artistic identity, not to mention love.

As The Devil Wears Prada demystified the world of high fashion, Danielle Ganek’s delightfully funny and insightful first novel paints the oddly captivating New York City art scene as it exists today.

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  • Viking
  • Hardcover
  • May 2007
  • 288 Pages
  • 9780670038664

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About Danielle Ganek

Danielle Ganek has been an editor at Mademoiselle and Woman’s Day magazines. She is a collector of contemporary art and photography. She lives in New York City with her husband and three children. Lulu Meets God and Doubts Him is her first book.

Praise

“…the painting, remains the book’s true center. Ms. Ganek allows this picture to mean different things to different people. She measures both their aesthetic wisdom and their avarice according to the ways they try to snag it. The various maneuvers that give each character just desserts make this a glossy, amusing story that still finds time to wonder, in all seriousness, how, why and whether the art world differentiates between trash and treasure.” —The New York Times

“In her debut novel, Lulu…, Danielle Ganek captures the absurdity of the New York art scene with wide and witty brushstrokes.” —Vanity Fair

Lulu Meets God and Doubts Him has arrived just in time for readers who are looking for a smarter-than-average beach book.” —Connecticut Post

“The tone is sophisticated chick lit, and there’s a sweet love story threaded in, but what most clearly animates this debut, and sets it apart, is a real sense that art matters.”
—Publishers Weekly

Discussion Questions

What do you think about Jeffrey Finelli’s promise to Lulu that she could have the painting? Do you think he meant for her to own the actual painting? To whom do you think the painting rightfully belongs and why?

Discuss the topic of Simon’s panel talk, “the role of the muse in contemporary art,” in relationship to Lulu. What is her role as Finelli’s muse?

Why do you think Lulu slept with Pierre LaReine? Was she using him as much as he seemed to be using her? Who do you think had the advantage and why?

Consider Zach’s assertion that “collectors only borrow works of art. They can never really own them” (p. 193). Do you feel that a work of art is above personal ownership? Why or why not?

Discuss Connie Cantor and Martin Better’s respective passions for art collecting. Is one more valid than the other? What is the role of the art collector in today’s world? What do you think would happen to art if there were no market for it?

Mia stumbles across her passion for writing almost by chance. Do you think she ever would have discovered her true creative medium if it hadn’t been for Lulu?

Simon sells Lulu to the unnamed Hollywood celebrity for $275,000. Four months later, Martin Better purchases the painting for $675,000. Five months after that, it sells at auction for $4.3 million. Is this exponential increase in value legitimate? Why or why not?

LaReine is one of the world’s preeminent gallery owners, yet he mistakes Lulu’s unfinished self-portrait for an early Jeffrey Finelli. Do you believe that artistic talent and sensibilities can be inherited?

Simon is an enigma to Mia—from his nationality to his sexuality to his spirituality. He is often quite bossy and brusque to her, yet she stays with him for more than five years. What role does he play in Mia’s life?

After Lulu quits her Wall Street job, she tells Mia, “I was miscast in my old life . . . It didn’t fit me, the job, the apartment, the fear. Not to get too evangelical about it, but everyone should know what this feels like, to live the life you really want to be living. To be the person you believe yourself to be” (p. 191). It’s a sentiment that just about everyone can relate to at some point. Discuss an instance in your own life when you felt this way.