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Publisher's Summary

A tender affair and the redemptive power of art are at the core of this compelling novel from National Book Award finalist Allegra Goodman, "a romantic realist who dazzles with wit [and] compassion" (The Wall Street Journal).
Collin James is young, creative, and unhappy. A college dropout, he waits tables and spends his free time beautifying the streets of Cambridge, Massachusetts, with his medium of choice: chalk. Collin's art captivates passersby with its vibrant colors and intricate lines - until the moment he wipes it all away. Nothing in Collin's life is meant to last. Then he meets Nina....
The daughter of a tech mogul who is revolutionizing virtual reality, Nina Lazare is trying to give back as a high school teacher - but her students won't listen to her. When Collin enters her world, he inspires her to think bigger. Nina wants to return the favor - even if it means losing him.
Against this poignant backdrop, Allegra Goodman paints a tableau of students, neighbors, and colleagues: Diana, a teenage girl trying to make herself invisible; her twin brother, Aidan, who's addicted to the games produced by Nina's father; and Daphne, a viral-marketing trickster who unites them all, for better or worse.
Wise, warm, and enchanting, The Chalk Artist is both a finely rendered portrait of modern love and a celebration of all the realms we inhabit: real and imagined, visual and virtual, seemingly independent yet hopelessly tangled.
©2017 Allegra Goodman (P)2017 Random House Audio
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Critic Reviews

"Goodman's eighth novel takes place in two skillfully evoked worlds that are at war for the hearts and minds of young people: video games versus education.... A very relevant love story with strong crossover possibilities." ( Kirkus Reviews)
"Richly textured...Goodman probes the meaning and place of art in contemporary culture in her intricate and empathic novel." ( Publishers Weekly)
"What do you do when ambition collides with love? Goodman answers this messy question with nuance in this heartfelt story about class." ( Booklist)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Ken L. on 07-21-17

another great novel from a really fine writer

What about Orlagh Cassidy’s performance did you like?

Very good narration -- nice job with the different characters.

Any additional comments?

Goodman is a really terrific writer and I have been following her for years. This book has a very well constructed story with interwoven plots involving a teacher, her boyfriend/artist, a virtual reality game, and a high school student addicted to the game. It was a page turner and raises interesting ideas about the forging of relationships both real and imagined, as well as passion, obsession and art.

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