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"The Art Fair," by David Lipsky.Doubleday. 271...


"The Art Fair," by David Lipsky.Doubleday. 271 pages. $22.50.

The novel's narrator, Richard Freely, is a precocious youngster who is shuttled between his artist mother in Manhattan and his writer father in Los Angeles. Their split was brought on by their mother's sudden arrival in the art world.

Before she gained fame, their lives were idyllic, but as her work garned attention, the family life crumbled.

If Lipsky's book reads so remarkably assured, perhaps it's because his story is drawn from real life: He is the son of painter Pat Lipsky Sutton.

But Lipsky isn't adept simply at tweaking the Manhattan art world. His fictional autobiography expertly explores the deep, inexplicable bond between mother and son. His book brims with humor and thoughtful observation. It also is rich in the luminous joys and dark pains that color every family.

Pub Date: 8/25/96

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