Set in Seattle, this rapidly moving satirical novel integrates two story lines. In the first are the misadventures of Charles, a failed artist, his long-time lover (and gallery owner), and a bevy of art-world characters. The second story line follows Wally, a plodding, TV-addicted, middle-aged, middle manager, his wife, son, daughter-in-law, a minister, colleagues, and a neighbor. The two themes-Charles' determination to create and sell his art, in spite of his life-long failure to achieve recognition; and Wally's unexpected and improbable blossoming into an artistic genius-come together as Wally's new and single-minded passion for art drags his family and friends into an ongoing battle with the art world to protect Wally from his threatening obsession with art. They fear the change they see in him and they do not understand his awesome talent. His single-minded persistence in the face of their increasingly restrictive actions drives him into the orbit of Charles and his lover. Humorous conflict moves the story with a crisp liveliness and a good deal of energy, in the form of Charles' running quarrels with artists and critics, his rough-edged love relationship with Janice, and his envy-driven resentment of Wally's talent. "The Nominal Theory of Good Art" is an exceedingly well-plotted, literate, and well-written satire that is populated by a score of original characters whose dialog is smart and witty. The development of interesting and plausibly motivated character always comes out of action, and the stable of outrageous characters that inhabit this fine satire move the action relentlessly to a satisfying conclusion that will make you want to return to page one after you turn the last page.