Bourland has an uncanny knack for spatial description and relates artwork and every last thing in Pine City with pristinely observed color and feeling. She also nails the creep factor, and her narrator’s high tolerance for it, with foreboding signs that the no-name painter isn’t totally welcome there, and that there’s more to Carey’s story. The deck stacked against her, the narrator tells the glitteringly compelling tale of her fevered summer and wisely reveals meaningful intersections of class, gender, and making art.
Fake Like Me roars with creative impulse. Bourland captures the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants nature of the narrator’s artistic life... Questions lead to an urge to act in the only way an artist knows. The writing becomes fierce and urgent, the fine line between creation and destruction blurred ... Part thriller, part performance art and wholly revolutionary, Fake Like Me confronts American art culture with female bravado.
The novel’s feminist themes grow more pronounced as the story slowly reveals itself to be a twist on the classic 'dead girl' thriller...Bourland gives us instead a female-driven exploration of a young woman’s death ... The novel unfolds at the pace of a thriller but is steeped in contemporary art theory ... [Bourland's] dedication to the subject is clear on every page: The book brims with allusions to Lucy Dodd, Laura Owens, and Marina Abramovich ... Impressively, Bourland’s eruditeness rarely weighs down her prose, which zips across the page like a steady painter’s hand across a canvas. The characters’ crackling dialogue is also a pleasure to read, especially when they’re discussing art ... Glittering with wit and mystery, Fake Like Me is more than an immensely readable portrait of an artist — it shatters expectations with pointed satire and structural daring.
...not quite a thriller, but a commendable detective story nonetheless, as the narrator makes it her business to find out the truth behind her art hero’s death ... For some inexplicable reason, [the protagonist] can’t tell her agent what’s happened to her paintings ... but Bourland doesn’t seem too interested in grounding her plot in reality ... An overegging of the ingenue card...ramps up the paint-by-numbers feel, as does the narrator’s tendency towards whinging and regret in a story peppered with shoulds and if-onlys. Syntax can be an issue at times, particularly when the voice is lost to invective ... All of the above feed into the main problem of the book, which is that it could have been edited down to a tighter, more thrilling read ... There is much within it that readers will love, however, particularly those with even a passing interest in the art world. The details of the narrator’s work are convincing, interesting and hit the sweet spot between technical knowledge and rich description.
The creative process confronts reality in this compelling literary thriller centering on art, identity, and deception, as told in Bourland’s sharp prose. A must for those with an artistic bent, a sheer reading pleasure for all.
Bourland’s painstaking research on the practical and emotional aspects of making art is on vivid display. Readers eager for a glimpse into the New York art scene will be enthralled, but despite the glitz and glamour, it’s frequently a dehumanizing place to be, especially for women ... A haunting, dizzying meditation on identity and the blurred lines between life and art.
... exceptional ... Bourland expertly shines a light on the nature of female ambition and desire and the often dark heart of inspiration. Readers fascinated with the blood, sweat, and tears of creating art will be especially rewarded.