The God of My Art: A Novel

What Readers Have To Say…

The God of My Art by Sarah Lane is one of the best books I have read this summer. It is a story of love, hope, happiness and despair." —S.A. Molteni

"This is one of the best books I've read in a very long time. The plot and character development was brilliant and the writing was exquisite.” —Martin Crosbie

“An honest literary look at a young Artist's journey towards self discovery.” —Emily H. Sturgillon

The Story of an Artist Awakening

Helene has a secret talent—one she has kept hidden for years. But a summer fling with Matthew awakens in her an irrepressible longing to create.

Matthew plans to volunteer in a war zone after university to escape a mundane life. For now, he seeks his thrills in rock climbing and in toying with Helene.

She sees in him a potential muse, if only she could risk the artist's path, if only he wasn’t leaving.

Read an excerpt on Amazon.

Award & Reviews

Quarterfinalist Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (2012)

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From the Back Cover of This YA Crossover Novel

Helene vividly remembers that night in Prince George when her alcoholic mother threatened to leave. She also cannot forget the day her stepfather sent her away to a group home. Now, years later in Vancouver, she has met a man who can make her forget all that.

The God of My Art is layered with unforgettable scenes of youth, obsessive love, and artistic longing. At the core of this haunting coming-of-age tale are the shifting faces of Helene—teenage runaway, university student, and budding artist. Related in Helene’s engaging voice, this novel chronicles her seminal love affair with Matthew, a globetrotting mountaineer passionate about Nietzsche, and the art he inspires within her.

As she wrestles to become the artist she wants to be, she encounters unforgettable characters along the way, including Hana, a lesbian theatre student fed up with her partner’s multiple affairs, and Laurent, a French exchange student who grapples with existential questions of his own.

Bold and poetic, sensual and confessional, The God of My Art is the beautifully written first novel by Sarah Lane, one of Canada’s most exciting new literary voices.

Book Trailer for The God of My Art

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is The God of My Art about?

It's the story of a young woman's journey to become an artist, after a brief relationship with a male muse, aka god of art, who inspires her. Helene is a university student from a small northern town in Canada who can’t decide what she wants most: to escape poverty or be an artist. She ran away as a teenager to Vancouver, and she has since managed to finish high school and get into university. An outsider in that big southern coastal city, she struggles to blend in. Then she meets Matthew, whose free spirit illuminates just how captive she remains to the past.

2. What genre of novel is The God of My Art?

It is young adult crossover to adult literary fiction. That mouthful means to say that the novel is the coming-of-age story of a twenty-one-year-old girl and artist, both a bildungsroman (coming-of-age story) and a kunstlerroman (artist's story). As the story of a young woman coming into her own, it is a psychological novel that emphasizes dialogue and internal thought over action as it focuses on the inner growth that propels the outward changes of Helene's character. As an artist’s novel, it shows Helene’s sensitive and unconventional nature as she struggles to become an artist despite her impoverished background and her mother's disapproval.

3. The title has the word "god" in it. Is it a religious book?

No, it is a philosophical novel. It delves into the existentialist questions Who am I? and What is the meaning of my life?

Another word for the artist’s muse is the goddess of art, which makes reference to the eternal feminine who inspires traditionally male artists to produce great works of art. In The God of My Art, the artist is a woman and her muse is a man, so the title makes reference to the masculine source of her inspiration.

4. Is the novel autobiographical?

No. Ms. Lane chose to write the novel from the first-person point of view, but the “I” telling the story is a fictional character. Her name is Helene, and she’s a somewhat naive, unreliable narrator. Young adult and young adult crossover novels are often written from this point of view.

5. Is the author Ms. Lane an artist?

She is a writer and so involved in the art world that way. When she lived in Europe she visited the major art galleries in Paris, Madrid, Amsterdam, and Berlin. She drew on those experiences while writing the novel.

6. I want to discuss The God of My Art in my book club or classroom. Is there a discussion guide?

Yes! You can find it here.