Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press


by Sabina Murray

Forgery is as flavorsome as a summer month in the Greek isles.” —Richard Lipez, Washington Post

  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Page Count 256
  • Publication Date April 22, 2008
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-4368-6
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $13.00

About The Book

Now in paperback, PEN/Faulker winner Sabina Murray’s Forgery is a mesmerizing tale of deception, political intrigue, and desire in 1960s Greece.

In the summer of 1963, American Rupert Brigg travels to Athens to collect classical pieces for his Uncle William’s art collection. Rupert’s first discovery, however, is that Athens is a shadowy place that hides a tangle of political subterfuge, duplicitous women, and fork-tongued diplomacy—a city of replicas and composites that calls to question what is real and what is false. As Rupert hunts for his treasure, he finds himself on the secluded island of Aspros, one of a circle of artists and aristocrats who show him that he’s not the only one with secrets. For as beautiful as Rupert’s discoveries are, beneath the surface lurk rumors of insurrection, fabrication, and even murder.

Tags Literary


“Contagiously suspenseful. . . . The deeper Rupert digs into the things, the smaller and more introspective Forgery‘s focus becomes, finally yielding beneath its busy facade a miniaturist portrait of how grief looks, smells, tastes, and in the end, conceals itself beneath the surface of things.” —Jennifer Gerson, Elle

“Murray’s narrative refuses to depict overwhelming mourning but shows its effects in quiet, biting ways. . . . With just a few words Murray conjures images that stay with the reader for days.” —Library Journal

“Subtle, sophisticated, and deceptively smooth, Forgery breaks through our artful surfaces to examine what lies beneath.” —Andrea Barrett, author of Ship Fever and Voyage of the Narwhal

“Sabina Murray writes with such a rich palette that the tale she tells is both delicate and cunning; both ominous and sexy; satiric yet profoundly tender, too. She renders perfectly the chiaroscuro of Greece, of its culture as well as its landscape, and brings together a disarming cast of characters from whom I was very sorry to part. Forgery is the genuine article: a novel well worth reading.” —Julia Glass, author of Three Junes and The Whole World Over

“This novel is itself happily on the light and shiny side—people are gorgeous, jokes are quick, drinks flow freely and the plot moves trippingly along. And what, it asks, is wrong with that?” —Rebecca Markovitz, Austin American-Statesman

Forgery is as flavorsome as a summer month in the Greek isles.” —Richard Lipez, Washington Post

“With assurance and style, Murray plumbs issues of identity and provenance. She plays with notions of deceit and of rebellion on levels ranging from personal to political.” —Barbara Lloyd McMichael, Seattle Times

Forgery begins as a travelogue, becomes a bildungsroman and a murder mystery and, finally, melds all three genres together into a seamless whole. The result is a novel which draws heavily from past literature, current circumstance and a strong dose of the author’s imagination and unique voice.” —Adam Goldwyn, Small Spiral Notebook

“A haunting, sexy, and very smart novel.” —Joanne Sasvari, Canada.com

“An enticing, slyly entertaining novel.” —Terry Hong, Bloomsbury Review

“Complex, intelligent and rewarding.” —Luisa A. Igloria,< EM>Virginian-Pilot


Chicago Tribune Favorite Books of 2007



I will never be the sort of person to make a major contribution to mankind. That has never been my goal. I am not a creator, but a man of taste, and my story, like the story of civilization, begins with art. Who were we before art?

I think of our prehistoric cousins desiring to make a fire. The ape says, “I am cold, and my meal, less pulse, is exactly the same as before I ran it down.” And perhaps this is the first instance of civilized humanity: a distinct encounter with dissatisfaction. Then the sparks ignite, and the ape casts his kill upon the flames—a willful transformation—and the ape comes out the other side of this experience warm, dining on . . . what did they have then, woolly mammoths? Other apes? I’m not sure but, having cooked it, he’s eating it, and the fire is leaping into his face, and his mate is sharing the feast, and the ape can finally say, “This is good.” Because before that, there was no good.

There was just the absence of food against the presence of food. No choice really, that, just hunger and certain death or satiety and survival. As a man, the ape can compare food to food. The creation of man is tied to the development of taste.

So here I have carried the ape to man. It all begins with art. Art is what gives man his soul. Man is man because he has an appreciation of what is useless. Recognition beyond death? Only man wants such a thing. The need to transform the blank walls of a cave into a narrative tapestry. The need to fashion the female form from the earth. The need to approach the inanimate bulk of solid marble and find himself within it: idealized, beautiful, immortal. Without art, we have no hope of discovering our divinity, our oneness with God.

Am I a believer? Someone to be avoided at cocktail parties? Not really. I tried to believe in God and, because of this, refused to follow the question all the way to its logical conclusion. I ended up someone who didn’t want my questions answered, because of course there is no God, no heaven of cerulean skies and caftaned deities, but I live in the realm just short of this knowledge. I stop short and stay in the creation of trees, the creation of man, and then man creating back at his God—like an angry child—this canvas, this statue, create, create, create, because we are of God and cannot help ourselves. We are a circuit: us making the divine, and the divine making man. I will not pursue this question to its limit—its betrayal, its refutation—because I lost someone I loved and I need to believe in something. Maybe in science, a sort of art, and transference of energy. After all, where did he go?

How could I be left with nothing, left with—well, myself, an apartment, a street, shoes walking on it, rain that pounded through the most miserable of Aprils and into May. And into June. That rain that seemed to reach around the world and leave no one unmolested, bringing all of us creatures together in its grip, rain that gave voice to the gloom of space—space, space, and more space—within me, that hissed outside the window, that sang its timpani on the Dumpsters and trash cans of my neighborhood, that sent the homeless into dark corners tented beneath their soggy blankets: rain that only whiskey could improve. Whiskey turned its blue to a sort of glowing and acceptable amber.

And then one day I was packing my bag and, ticket in hand, was headed for the airport. Uncle William had said I needed a change of scenery. I was to travel to Greece, where it never rained in the summer, or only rarely. Once, he said, the sky had gone from brilliant blue to black, as if Zeus himself had carelessly stepped in front of the sun, and then a cloud tore open and a flood of raindrops the size of plums had clattered onto the marble of the alleyway, where the restaurant’s tables were set up. And everything washed away, and everyone was wet and laughing.

“It wasn’t raining like this, ever,” he said.

I said, “I don’t think it’s just the rain.”

He said, “Try to convince yourself that it is.”

And I asked, “Why?”

And he said, “Because that we can fix.”