Kerry's first novel is published

August 24 2017

KERRY Postle, St Andrew's resident and former secondary school teacher, has just written her first novel, The Artist’s Muse.

KERRY Postle, St Andrew's resident and former secondary school teacher, has just written her first novel, The Artist’s Muse. 

Set in the seemingly glittering art world of turn-of-the-century Vienna, when Gustav Klimt is at the height of his fame and Egon Schiele is a tortured and talented young soul keen to push artistic boundaries, it tells the story of their model, Wally Neuzil. 

Kerry said: “The idea to write the novel came to me after a visit to an Egon Schiele exhibition in Vienna 2015. Images of his model Wally Neuzil were everywhere and in them evidence of a relationship that encapsulated much of the conflicted spirit of the age. I left the exhibition wanting to tell Wally’s story, to give her a voice, to look at the relationship through her eyes.

Neuzil is a girl with a strong sense of self  - she’s sharp, intelligent, with an emotional honesty that is at times disarming. And she also happens to be the narrator, exactly the type of person to allow us an honest look behind all the charcoal and paints. Everything is stripped bare - Neuzil leaves nothing untouched, not even herself. 

She shows us how she is pushed to her very limits on her quest for acceptance in a world marbled through with rich veins of misogyny and class division.  Poor, fatherless, female, attractive, young. The cards, when dealt out together, at this time, in this city,  are undoubtedly stacked against her, and she must battle to survive. And she does, sharing with us her hopes and disappointments , her loves and hates, all of which she reveals with an honesty that is at times quite painful to contemplate.

Kerry’s novel is an insightful look into the seemingly beautiful, golden world of art where conventional morality is left at the studio door.  Yet, where does this leave the working class model when she has to return to her everyday world? 

You will love Wally Neuzil. She’s both infuriating and inspiring, with an ironic sense of humour. A seeming victim on the outside but with a soul and spirit that burst forth from her every word. Then there’s the generally acknowledged enfant terrible Egon Schiele, the bad boy of the art world. And in these pages we see why - he is a great character.

Though Schiele the man is not spared (neither is Klimt, come to that), his art is presented with insight and affection, making me want to see the many works referred to within its pages. The novel offers a rare insight into art in all its timeless beauty and perfection while showing the very chaotic and flawed society out of which it grows. 

Yet this story is not Schiele’s. It’s not Klimt’s. It’s Wally Neuzil’s.  In this novel it is her survival that we’re interested in and she…but that’s enough of that. There will be no spoilers here. 

The Artist’s Muse by Kerry Postle is due out August 25, published by HQDigital, an imprint of Harpers Collins.

To see the paintings in the novel and more go to https://theartistsmuseblog.wordpress.com/