What Beauty

General Fiction

By Mark Beyer

Publisher : Siren & Muse Publishing

ABOUT Mark Beyer

Mark Beyer
I enjoy books that take me into the lives of characters whom I might want to have been, or never in my dreams want to walk in their shoes. These are the kinds of stories I write, as well. Story to me is all about the characters, and I want to read authors who take care to bring their c More...


"I want to read this book. I must read this book." — Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award

Minus Orth's "eccentricities ... make him the iconoclast he is intended to be."
— Publishers Weekly

Noted author Mark Beyer, along with Siren & Muse Publishing, bring you a story about obsession, identity, and art.

Minus Orth walks dogs for a living and sculpts for his life. He’s ready to create a unique sculpture cycle — Mythical Gods in Their Twilight. Meanwhile, he has a girlfriend, Belinda, who’s itching to get married. His friend, Peter N, has reaped artistic success that’s both inspirational and a thorn. He plays poker with a quartet of exiled aristocrats. And at Minus’s art co-op, the residents live on the fringe of society.

One day Minus crosses paths with Karen Kosek, best remembered as a culture critic of the 1960s. Karen dropped out of sight years ago. Now she dresses as a bag lady — ragged clothes, a garbage smell, and bulging plastic bags she carries as if they hold the secrets to the good life. Minus orchestrates a tenuous relationship with Karen, and discovers in her a woman who has not been trampled underfoot, but is burrowed deeper in society’s crust than anyone could imagine.

Thus begins an odyssey in which Minus becomes obsessed with Karen’s past and present, obsessed with creating his sculpture cycle, and with the role artists play in society’s split personality. “Do you have what it takes to make something beautiful?” is a question that comes to the minds of many characters in this story. Their answers are hilarious, confused, self-delusional, virtuous, or simply truthful, because the people who create beauty are different from those who value beauty, and far afield from the powers able to help it flourish … or destroy it.

While living in NYC, I knew several homeless people, all of whom were perfectly normal, even successful people who decided to live outside society. For this book, I wanted to see what a society-based artist would do if his "hero" was found to be living on the streets.

“I want to read this book. I must read this book.” — Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award

Minus Orth’s “eccentricities … make him the iconoclast he is intended to be.”
— Publishers Weekly

Orth's ambition to succeed in the art world is a Herculean fight in our secular age, and he does battle with adversaries as dangerous in their way as anything Odysseus faced: critics, rivals, and a mentor he's not sure he can trust.

Packed with wit, emotion, and memorable characters, What Beauty is a rewarding read for people who are up to the challenge.

–– Steve Farrell, author of Nothingness

For me, the most beautiful parts of the prose were often the simplest. In these passages, Beyer’s connection to his  characters shone through without artifice – pure, clean, honest. This man has a voice that will be heard more and more in the future.

–– Andrea Flory, Goodreads

Mark Beyer's use of descriptive language to create his scenes took me back to the days when I gorged myself on classic literature.

–– Carl Purdon, author of The Night Train