THE CONNOISSEUR by Evan S. Connell


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Perhaps you won't recognize -- in yourself -- middle-aged, conservative, really formal Mr. Muhlbach as readily as you did Mr. or Mrs. Bridge -- he's really the disembodiment of any obsession which can and often does overtake us at any time. Passing through Taos, Muhlbach sees a Mayan figurine and buys it for only thirty dollars, in spite of its uncertain origins. From then on he becomes the easy victim of that whole pre-Columbian subculture and a still easier one for its exploiters; he buys an Olmec jadeite mask at auction in New York which he later learns is not convincing; he wanders downtown to a gallery where the instruction becomes more and more expensive; he is last seen looking at a little hunchbacked dwarf in a window who expressionlessly returns his gaze, speculating on how dangerous is that little knowledge and how insidious that impulse to acquire. . .and above all the constant challenge to test, to validate, the rightness of his intuition. . . The Connoisseur is for fastidious others like him -- a finedrawn, hooded entertainment which teases and appropriates the reader.

Pub Date: Aug. 21st, 1974
Publisher: Knopf