In the Full Light of the Sun
by Clare Clark
Publication Date: July 9, 2019
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Hardcover, Paperback, & eBook
Genre: Historical Fiction
Based on a true story, this gorgeous new novel follows the fortunes of three Berliners caught up in an art scandal—involving newly discovered van Goghs—that rocks Germany amidst the Nazis’ rise to power.
Hedonistic and politically turbulent, Berlin in the 1920s is a city of seedy night clubs and sumptuous art galleries. It is home to millionaires and mobs storming bakeries for rationed bread. These disparate Berlins collide when Emmeline, a young art student; Julius, an art expert; and a mysterious dealer named Rachmann all find themselves caught up in the astonishing discovery of thirty-two previously unknown paintings by Vincent van Gogh.
In the Full Light of the Sun explores the trio’s complex relationships and motivations, their hopes, their vanities, and their self-delusions—for the paintings are fakes and they are in their own ways complicit. Theirs is a cautionary tale about of the aspirations of the new Germany and a generation determined to put the humiliations of the past behind them.
With her signature impeccable and evocative historical detail, Clare Clark has written a gripping novel about beauty and justice, and the truth that may be found when our most treasured beliefs are revealed as illusions.
“As compelling as it is expansive… In an age that has apparently lost faith in experts and verifiable sources of information, Clark’s fictionalization of the Wacker affair stands as a salutary tale for the post-truth era.” —The Guardian
“[Clark] excels at evoking the febrile tensions of the Weimar Republic… A gripping and ultimately moving story about art, artifice and authenticity.” —The Mail on Sunday
“With great skill and sympathy, Clark evokes a febrile society in which politics, love and art offer no certainties, and the ground always threatens to open beneath her characters’ feet.” —The Sunday Times
“Set over the decade of the Nazis’ rise to power, In the Full Light of the Sun loosely follows the real-life mystery of whether paintings apparently by Van Gogh that were exhibited in Berlin in the 1920s were forgeries…The most enjoyable mystery here is the matter of whether anyone is really their authentic self.” —The Times (UK)
“An engrossing read.” —Image Magazine Ireland
“Clark’s beautiful writing is as dense and layered as thick, Post-Impressionist oils.” —Tablet
“A completely fascinating novel about the early 20th century art world and its many dubious machinations. Expertly researched, compellingly narrated and full of potent resonance today.” —William Boyd, author of Sweet Caress
“Clare Clark casts her spell of time and place with casual elegance and no apparent tricks – yet caught me up in this juicy story of colossal art fraud, the passions and intrigues of her vivid and moving characters – and the truly terrifying rise of the Nazi party, with all its contemporary echoes. The atmosphere of this book lingers on.” —Laline Paull, author of The Bees
“I loved In the Full Light of the Sun, a novel about deception, self-deception, truth, love and lies that will enthrall anyone fascinated by Van Gogh, the art world and Berlin in the 1920s. Written with verve and assurance it is both engaging and humane.” —Amanda Craig, author of the Lie of the Land
“In her gripping new novel Clare Clark paints a picture of Weimar Berlin in which surface glitter hides sinister and bitter truths. Page by page she brings secret lives into the light; nothing: not love, not art, not politics, is what it seems, and few escape the brutal forces that emerge.” —Stella Tillyard, author of Aristocrats
“A wonderful novel: passionate, intelligent, humane, it held me from the first page to the last. Van Gogh’s fleeting genius—achingly out of reach, the pull so strong—is wonderfully evoked; and the house of cards that was the Weimar Republic provides the perfectly rendered backdrop for a story about our willingness to deceive in the pursuit of beauty.” —Rachel Seiffert, author of A Boy in Winter
“Clark’s mastery of historic and artistic details merges with skillful plotting and compelling characters in this accomplished novel. A suspenseful, atmospheric portrait of Berlin during Hitler’s rise.”—Kirkus
“Infused with Clark’s signature attention to historical detail…Evocative prose and excellent pacing make this fine historical a must-read for art history buffs.”—Publishers Weekly
About the Author
CLARE CLARK is the author of four novels, including The Great Stink, which was long-listed for the Orange Prize and named a Washington Post Best Book of the Year, and Savage Lands, also long-listed for the Orange Prize. Her work has been translated into five languages. She lives in London.