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A Cup of Light

Nicole Mones

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Description

As an American appraiser of fine Chinese porcelain, Lia Frank holds fragile beauty in her hands, examines priceless treasure with a magnifying lens. But when Lia looks in the mirror, she sees the flaws in herself, a woman wary of love, cut off from the world around her. Still, when she is sent to Beijing to authenticate a collection of rare pieces, Lia will find herself changing in surprising ways…coming alive in the shadow of an astounding mystery.

As Lia evaluates each fragile pot, she must answer questions that will reverberate through dozens of lives: Where did these works of art come from? Are they truly authentic? Or are they impossibly beautiful forgeries--part of the perilous underworld of Chinese art? As Lia examines her treasure, a breathtaking mystery unravels around her. And with political intrigue intruding on her world of provenance and beauty, Lia is drawn into another, more personal drama--a love affair that could alter the course of her life.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Publishers Weekly Review

Feb 04, 2002 – Mones's second novel, after Lost in Translation, twins a conventional romance with an unconventional and intriguing art world mystery. Lia Frank, a specialist in Chinese porcelain for a Sotheby's-like art dealer called Hastings, flies to Beijing to appraise a cache of some 20 porcelain pots secretly offered for sale by a Chinese developer, only to find that there are close to 800 pots of unsurpassed beauty. Given the value of the collection—some $190 million—Hastings fears fraud, and it is Lia's job to ensure that the collection is authentic and contains no fakes. Early in her search, Lia comes upon a replica of a late 15th-century Ming masterpiece, which makes her question the provenance of the entire collection. Meanwhile, Lia develops an interest in one of her neighbors, a research physician, though her stay may be too short for a relationship to bloom. Perhaps because it is convenient to the novel, Mones has made Lia a mnemonist, who has memorized not only every pot she has ever examined, but also every catalogue and history. (Readers of The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci will be familiar with feats of this sort.) This talent allows her to reconstruct significant events in the history of the collection. Though the mnemonic tricks are contrived, these passages are the novel's most arresting. Here the language is fresh (elsewhere it seems mechanical), and Mones slips easily into her characters' skins (elsewhere you feel her struggling). Still, she generates real suspense—moving cinematically from character to character and place to place—all the while deftly sketching the intricacies of Chinese porcelain and the world of imitators and smugglers that surround it. Major ad/promo.
A Cup of Light
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  • $11.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Mysteries & Thrillers
  • Published: Mar 26, 2002
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Seller: Random House, LLC
  • Print Length: 306 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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