by Brian D'Amato
Cover Artist: Photo: Stefano Moro / Blaublut Edition; Illustrations by Brain D'Amato
Review by April Disney
Mulholland Books Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780316217248
Date: 12 March 2013 List Price $14.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Jamie Angelo is Manhattan's biggest artistic genius, though the world sadly does not realize it. He and his assistants, both doctors, walk the line between art and science in a very dangerous medium: human flesh itself. Turning the beautiful into masterful, Angelo yearns for the opportunity to create/ possess/ redefine perfection. And Jai'shree Manglani provides him with just what he needs to delve into this shady, personal desire.
"You can't make any concessions to received standards of beauty, the whole notion is debilitating, demeaning to women, it's given every woman in the Western world a complex the size of the Graf Zeppelin, it's the biggest psychological disaster since Catholicism, and I'm in a horrible, parasitic, male chauvinist business. But I love it anyway." –pg 123This is a great example of classic Jamie Angelo, who is a narcissist with an intellect too large for his own good; blaming Jamie for being too much inside his own head would be like blaming an elephant for having a long trunk. It's the natural state of affairs for his character, which leads to both the novel's best and worst aspects. The enigmatically entertaining and sexy man at the heart of this story won't shut up in his monologue, so the plot drags a bit especially through the middle. It's not enough to have dampened my enjoyment overmuch, but it is worth stating that this won't be the quickest read for everyone.
Shadowy, disturbing, and rich, Beauty is quite a ride into the inner workings of obsession and ambition, with a simultaneous commentary on society's obsession with physical attractiveness. Recommended.