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Two of 2021’s most innovative and engrossing books have works of art at their heart. Claire Thomas’s The Performance is set over a single theatrical performance, and uses the potent image of the trapped Winnie in Beckett’s masterpiece Happy Days to explore the colliding but disparate lives of three women. Angela O’Keeffe’s Night Blue is audaciously told from the perspective of our National Gallery’s most famous acquisition, Jackson Pollock’s Blue Poles, as it examines an artist’s life and the eternal conundrum of great art that springs from monstrous creators


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