Lisa Schwarzbaum
February 20, 2004 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Hound in the Left-Hand Corner

Current Status
In Season
Giles Waterfield

We gave it a B

Because Waterfield has worked as a British museum director and here writes satiric fiction about museum-staff culture, his publisher draws comparisons to British ex-professor David Lodge’s trilogy of academic farces. This does scant justice to Lodge and no favors to Waterfield’s less-refined narrative skills: His new comic novel of low-down shenanigans in a wannabe-highbrow place galumphs along more broadly and giddily. Waterfield’s invented Museum of British History is a joint with an identity crisis. While the centerpiece of the safe, crowd-pulling exhibition about to open is a suspiciously little-known Gainsborough portrait, the boobish board chairman (and the work’s owner) has tone-deaf ideas about a swinging future exhibition called the Nowness of Now. Is that art-guzzling pooh-bah Charles Saatchi we see behind the mask, hmm?

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