Acclaimed author Evan S. Connell sends us through the complete experience of a man initially intrigued and then enslaved by art: a curious interest, a rapt fixation, and the becoming of a connoisseur. The Connoisseur trails the evolution of Muhlbach, an insurance executive on a business trip in Taos, New Mexico, who develops an obsession with pre–Columbian figurines after meandering through a curio shop. Entranced yet bewildered by his sudden affinity for a little figurine, Muhlbach succumbs to his intrigue and, thirty dollars later, begins his journey as a connoisseur.
With superb delivery and subtle clarity, Connell allows us to see and feel Muhlbach’s emerging mania, with its impending tension and sudden exhilaration. He illustrates how a new fixation alters our lens on life and shapes our actions.