August 2, 2017 Sakamoto Emma

The Real-Life Art Heist that Inspired a Novel

Thirty-one years ago today, a famous art heist took place in Melbourne, Australia. This event inspired Gabrielle Williams to write her novel The Guy, the Girl, the Artist and His Ex. Read on for more information about the heist, as outlined in the book.

Weeping Woman by Pablo Picasso
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

On August 2, 1986, a group calling itself the Australian Cultural Terrorists stole one of the world’s most iconic paintings — Picasso’s Weeping Woman — off the walls of the National Gallery of Victoria and held it for ransom, demanding an increase in government funding for artists in Victoria. The painting was the subject of an international manhunt involving Interpol, Scotland Yard and the Australian Federal Police.

The Australian Cultural Terrorists were never found.

The Guy, the Girl, the Artist and His Ex

by Gabrielle Williams

The Guy decides to have a house party while his parents are out of town. The Girl is adjusting to life in a new country. The Artist has discovered that forgery is a lucrative business. And his Ex, mother of his baby, is just trying to make ends meet.

As Guy, a feckless high-school senior, plans the party of the year, Rafi worries about her mother, who is still grieving over the drowning death of Rafi’s little brother back in Bolivia and haunted by the specter of La Llorona, the weeping ghost who steals children.

Meanwhile, Rafi’s uncle is an art dealer involved in a scheme to steal one of the most famous paintings in the world, but he needs the forgery skills of Luke, a talented artist who has just split up with his girlfriend, Penny, who wants nothing more than to get him back to be a proper father to Joshie, the baby Rafi babysits.

Engaging, provocative, darkly humorous and fast-paced, with a shocking and near-tragic ending, when Rafi’s mother’s grief tips over into mental illness.

“A winning, offbeat romp for all ages.” Kirkus Reviews

“Quiet but layered, Williams’s story lingers.” Publishers Weekly

“An intriguing and twisting plot keeps readers turning the pages to discover how the relatable characters connect.” School Library Journal

“A sophisticated entertainment, this book has intrinsic appeal to adult readers as well as its primary teen target.” Booklist

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