Steve Martin novel probes New York art world

Wed Nov 24, 2010 8:35am EST
 
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By Daniel Trotta

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Steve Martin glides from acting to music to writing so fluidly that he gives the impression it all comes easily to him.

Martin admits "a certain kind of ease" with writing fiction, as exemplified in his new novel "An Object of Beauty" from Grand Central Publishing, but only now does he feel that way, at age 65, years removed from the "wild and crazy guy" who burst into show business as a stand-up comedian in the 1970s.

"Object of Beauty," which hit bookstores on Tuesday, tells the story of an alluring and ambitious art dealer named Lacey Yeager who climbs from the basement at Sotheby's auction house to open her own gallery in the Chelsea section of New York.

"If I had tried to write it 20 years ago, I would have suffered. I suffered a long time to get to where I am, to be able to write it, sort of knowingly, and have the confidence to write it," Martin told Reuters.

Being a world famous movie star helps. Martin can finish a manuscript before having to sell the concept, "so I always know I can put it in the trash." He faces no deadline and does not have to please a publisher.

"I have taken the pressure off myself by doing things essentially freelance," said Martin, who has published two previous novels in addition to screenplays, plays and nonfiction.

Martin, the comedian, broke new ground in the 1970s when he turned a zany stand-up act with a banjo and popular appearances on television's "Saturday Night Live" into a Hollywood career.

"Once I started doing it (making movies), it was the only thing I wanted to do," Martin said.   Continued...

 
<p>Actor Steve Martin arrives at the annual Mark Twain Prize awards ceremony for American Humor hosted by the Kennedy Center in Washington November 9, 2010. REUTERS/Larry Downing</p>