“Art, for an impressionist, is a bad tease,” states Giovanni Bernini, the protagonist of Jacob Rubin’s debut novel, “The Poser.” According to Giovanni, art can be mimicked, but never to the satisfaction of the mimicker. For always out of reach in these objects is what he calls something or someone’s “thread”—that is, the essence of a person which peeks through his or her disguise. It is just this human spark that is so delightfully present in Rubin’s own work. Through his cartoonish characters and magical realist premise, Rubin has managed to tease out some fundamental aspects of the human condition in a way that makes his new novel genuinely exciting.
The concept that “The Poser” lays out is thoroughly original. Giovanni Bernini is not only blessed with a talent that allows him to imitate any person, animal, or