Catalogue


How to paint a dead man /
Sarah Hall.
imprint
London : Faber and Faber, 2009.
description
289 p. ; 22 cm.
ISBN
057122489X (Paper), 9780571224890 (Paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
London : Faber and Faber, 2009.
isbn
057122489X (Paper)
9780571224890 (Paper)
general note
Author won the Commonwealth Writer's Prize for Best First Novel and the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize.
catalogue key
6840485
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
Italy in the early 1960s: a dying painter considers the sacrifices and losses that have made him an enigma, both to strangers and those closest to him. He begins his last life painting, using the same objects he has painted obsessively for his entire career – a small group of bottles. Not long afterwards, a blind girl tends his grave, trying to understand the world she can no longer see, and wondering whether the presence she feels nearby is the 'Bestia', the monstrous creature depicted in the altar of painting of her local church. In Cumbria thirty years later, a landscape artist – who once wrote letters to the Italian recluse – finds himself trapped in the extreme terrain that has made him famous. And in present-day London, his daughter is struggling with the sudden loss of her twin brother while trying to curate an exhibition about the lives of the twentieth-century European masters, and finds herself drawn into a world of darkness and sexual abandon. Covering half a century, Sarah Hall's fourth novel is a fierce and brilliant study of art and its place in our lives. Written with passionate understanding for both the grand artistic folly and the small-scale creative triumph, How to Paint a Dead Man is a luminous and searching novel of extraordinary power.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2009-07-27:
Stunning visual descriptions link the stories of four artists in crisis in Hall's fourth novel (after Daughters of the North), but marginal, cross-generational relationships are what ground the book. Giorgio is a well-known painter and hermit in Italy in the 1960s, the near-blind Annette his favorite primary school student. Peter is a 50-something landscape artist in England, and Peter's daughter, Susan, a talented photographer and curator. Giorgio has cancer and for his final days tackles one last painting of his constant subject, colored bottles. Soon after his death, Annette tends his grave, innocent and fearful and now completely blind, fearing imaginary things like the Bestia-a demon that is depicted in her church. Thirty years later, Peter, who corresponded with Giorgio, is pinned under a boulder near his cottage, and contemplates the haunting relationship he had with his ex-wife, while in present-day London, Susan searches for feeling (through sex) after the sudden loss of her twin brother. Hall gracefully conveys a sense of the eternal through these imaginative, disconnected creatures who share the same unrelentingly contemplative disposition. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
The Times (London), July 2009
The Australian, August 2009
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
Italy in the early 1960s: a dying painter considers the sacrifices and losses that have made him an enigma, both to strangers and those closest to him. He begins his last life painting, using the same objects he has painted obsessively for his entire career - a small group of bottles. In Cumbria 30 years later, a landscape artist – and admirer of the Italian recluse – finds himself trapped in the extreme terrain that has made him famous. And in present-day London, his daughter, an art curator struggling with the sudden loss of her twin brother while trying to curate an exhibition about the lives of the twentieth-century European masters, is drawn into a world of darkness and sexual abandon. Covering half a century, this is a luminous and searching novel, and Hall's most accomplished work to date.
Bowker Data Service Summary
1960s Italy: a dying painter considers the sacrifices and losses that have made him an enigma. In Cumbria 30 years later, a landscape artist finds himself trapped in the extreme terrain that has made him famous. And in present-day London, his daughter, an art curator, is drawn into a world of darkness and sexual abandon.
Back Cover Copy
All you want is to be yourself again, because the identity that was once yours has vanished. Though a familiar face is reflected in the mirror, its anima is missing. You are absent. There’s no real mystery of course, no complicated reason. The nub, the crux, the heart of the matter is this: Danny died a month and a half ago. You’ve lived six weeks, fourteen days, and several minutes longer than he.

This information is provided by a service that aggregates data from review sources and other sources that are often consulted by libraries, and readers. The University does not edit this information and merely includes it as a convenience for users. It does not warrant that reviews are accurate. As with any review users should approach reviews critically and where deemed necessary should consult multiple review sources. Any concerns or questions about particular reviews should be directed to the reviewer and/or publisher.

  link to old catalogue

Report a problem