Denoon has a ball lampooning the wannabe local art scene and the emerging city's sudden hunger for global applause, circa 1967.
After a successful O'Hara show at Gonzaga's gallery, Back Flip becomes a sensation, attracting the attention of Quinton Margrave, a sexually ambiguous British curator. But when the painting mysteriously disappears, it sets off a chain of events that involves the usual sordid behaviour: deception, violence, forgery, infidelity, and vandalism. Denoon entertainingly portrays the era's innocent experiments with free love and drugs as well as the fickle nature of creation. The result is a cross between a soap opera and a crime story, with enough comic flourishes to resemble a Mel Brooks script. --Moe Berg
`The ensemble cast of this first novel ... is ... constantly on the make -- for sex, social advantage, financial gain or some combination thereof. In other words, they're exceedingly entertaining.... The moral of the story is that there isn't any -- and that's part of the wicked charm of this satirical romp, which mixes insights on the politics of influence and of intimacy with a gossipy, buoyant insouciance.'(Barbara Carey Toronto Star)
`The Sixties, though much written about, are not easy to get right in fiction or film.... What Denoon brings to the mix is what was missing at the time: wisdom.... [Her] portrait of the tight, incestuous world that formed the Toronto art scene in '67 thoughtfully skewers it, while magically bringing it to life.'(Nancy Wigston Books in Canada)
`Toronto visual artists and mavens who came of age in the late 1960s will likely find Anne Denoon's first novel a delight -- when they're not cringing at its satiric pricks.... Gender disparities and furtive sex-capades are recurring motifs, pursued with a keen, sometimes touching eye for the ridiculous.'(Jim Bartley Globe & Mail)
`Denoon does a remarkable job of mixing and matching her creations ... as assignations go wrong and flirtatious behaviours and sexual innuendoes are misinterpreted.... There is a forgery, a painting is vandalized, there are at least two deaths, and the pretentious art community is wickedly satirized in an entertaining manner.'(W.P. Kinsella Books in Canada)
`The novel explores, perhaps explodes is a better term, the idea of value in art by playing a kind of mystery with a painting and its copy. Egotistical artists make for good stories, and this novel is no exception.'(Antanas Sileika CBC Hot Type)
`Anne Denoon really knows how to take you back.... [She] is skilled at evoking the time and place.... Denoon also knows something about art, how it's dealt, how talent often doesn't matter and how success can be based on a fluke. Definite fun.'(Susan G. Cole Now)
Besides the whole art thing, there's sex, scandal, and a dash of tragedy thrown in for good measure. The plot is such that I was dying to find out what would happen next, and Denoon's prose is PRETTY! This is a great book, in fact it made the editors' '25 Best' list on amazon.ca, so give it a try.