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The Portrait de Iain Pears
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The Portrait (2004 original; edició 2006)

de Iain Pears (Autor)

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
7503724,624 (3.41)70
A dark and disturbing novel of suspense, set at the turn of the 20th century, by the bestselling author of An Instance of the Fingerpost The windswept isle of Houat, off the coast of Brittany, is no picturesque artists' colony. At the turn of the twentieth century, life is harsh and rustic. So why did Henry MacAlpine forsake London - where he had been fA ted by critics and gallery owners, his works exhibited alongside the likes of Cezanne and Van Gogh - to make his home in this remote outpost? The truth begins to emerge when, four years into his exile, MacAlpine receives his first visitor. Influential art critic William Nasmyth has come to the island to sit for a portrait. Over the course of the sitting, the power balance between the two men shifts dramatically as the critic whose pen could anoint or destroy careers becomes a passive subject. And as the painter struggles to capture Nasmyth's true character on canvas, a story unfolds - one of betrayal, hypocrisy, forbidden love, suicide and ultimately murder.… (més)
Membre:Parti-gyle
Títol:The Portrait
Autors:Iain Pears (Autor)
Informació:Riverhead Books (2006), Edition: Reprint, 211 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
Valoració:
Etiquetes:Cap

Informació de l'obra

The Portrait de Iain Pears (2004)

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» Mira també 70 mencions

Anglès (33)  Francès (2)  Alemany (1)  Castellà (1)  Totes les llengües (37)
Es mostren 1-5 de 37 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Unusual. Intriguing. I usually don’t care for first person narrators, but this was acceptable. No surprises, but an interesting story. ( )
  PattyLee | Dec 14, 2021 |
A perfectly rendered novel of suspense about a painter driven to extremes.
  Daniel464 | Sep 25, 2021 |
A subtle little psychological study of an artist and his subject, an old "friend" and art critic, with a surprising twist at the end. A little bit like Possession—but not so sophisticated and quite a bit darker. ( )
  Charon07 | Jul 16, 2021 |
The sense of being inside the artist's head was very effective. Reliving his whole life through his memories and musings was fascinating. Slowly understanding the evolving relationship with his sitter was handled in a very gripping and ultimately menacing way. The relationships with the female characters in the story were all quite troubling. They are portrayed as suspicious and untrustworthy even through the unwilling attraction to them - they really seem to be perceived as largely objects. When they turn out to have strengths, talents, desires, fears and passions beyond the artist's comprehension, they become almost evil - quite disturbing.
  rosiezbanks | Apr 3, 2021 |
Even in Pears’s talented hands, this author indulgence just didn’t work for me. I persisted in reading the whole book (which is all of 211 pages) because I was waiting for a payoff that was too late and too lenient to be effective. Oh sure, it’s there, but you have to wade through a lot of Artistic Opinion to get to it. And it’s oblique when delivered. Horrible, but unrealized and in future tense. You’re left to wonder if Henry managed to follow through. I hope he did.

William is a thoroughly despicable character as painted by our narrator who delivers the whole of the text in a 2nd person monologue aimed squarely at William. Like other books written with a narrow point-of-view, its limitations come up hard against the narrative. It isn’t as difficult to bear with this book because I think Pears was very deliberate in his decision to address the whole book to “you”. You being the reader, but also William. The thing is, he has to balance what William would know and what you do as reader. Of course readers know less and have to infer a lot from the text. Once I got past the difficulty in reading this delivery (I recently DNFed another book for exactly this type of narrative) I started to wonder why Pears chose it. How does this serve the story in a way other more common styles don’t? All I can think of is the anticipatory frisson of coming bad news. Putting yourself into William’s position does add a bit of that, but it’s hard won and requires a lot of mental discipline on the part of the reader, something I failed at over and over. I just couldn’t put myself in William’s place. Why was he putting up with this monologue? Why was he there? Why couldn’t he leave? It drove me nuts and I had to continually re-focus on the text and story.

That said, there are some great lines in this book about art, popularity, integrity and the role of the critic. Pears can write and he definitely is passionate about art, its closeted sphere and its larger role in culture. How it is rarely viewed objectively. There are gems in there. On page 72-75 or so he gives us a fantastic scene of palpable cruelty which kept me reading. William needed to suffer for what he did. There are similar scenes later in the book, but they didn’t ratchet up the way I thought and so the ultimate tragedies they cause were blunted for me. I expected one of the two, but the other wasn’t sufficiently horrifying because the victim was too remote. It was too abstract.

Maybe that was the point. I think there were a lot of things (points) that I didn’t catch in this book and will probably have to give it ago in another ten years or so. ( )
1 vota Bookmarque | Jul 20, 2016 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 37 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Features of the paperback presentation of this wonderful, grimly entertaining novel are fold-out endpapers like a miniature gallery, showing paintings by artists as diverse as Velázquez, Géricault and Whistler. They give promise of the high aesthetic tone which the novel duly fulfils.
 

» Afegeix-hi altres autors (7 possibles)

Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Iain Pearsautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Capaldi, PeterNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Vance, SimonNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Werner, HoniDissenyador de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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No mere journalist, then, but something more. You will have the pose of a pope, as painted by Velázquez, to remind everyone of the power that people like yourself wield in our modern world. You command, and it comes to pass. You lift your finger and a reputation is made, shake your head and the hopes nurtured for years in the ateliers, worked for and so desperately desired, are dashed forever. So, you do not move armies, do not wreak destruction on faraway lands like our politicians and generals. You are far more powerful than that, are you not? You change the way people think, shape the way they see the world. A great power, wielded without check or hindrance. A despotism of the arts, in which you are high priest of the true and the beautiful. (pp. 32–3)
Of course I am a charlatan, that little inclination of your head says. That is my profession. We live in an age when appearance is all, and I am the master of it. I am a purveyor of the new upon the public, the intermediary. I persuade people to love what they hate, buy what they do not want, despise what they love, and that can only be done with the techniques of the circus ringmaster. But I am honest, nonetheless, and tell the truth. In that lies my integrity: I am a fraud with a purpose. (p. 54)
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A dark and disturbing novel of suspense, set at the turn of the 20th century, by the bestselling author of An Instance of the Fingerpost The windswept isle of Houat, off the coast of Brittany, is no picturesque artists' colony. At the turn of the twentieth century, life is harsh and rustic. So why did Henry MacAlpine forsake London - where he had been fA ted by critics and gallery owners, his works exhibited alongside the likes of Cezanne and Van Gogh - to make his home in this remote outpost? The truth begins to emerge when, four years into his exile, MacAlpine receives his first visitor. Influential art critic William Nasmyth has come to the island to sit for a portrait. Over the course of the sitting, the power balance between the two men shifts dramatically as the critic whose pen could anoint or destroy careers becomes a passive subject. And as the painter struggles to capture Nasmyth's true character on canvas, a story unfolds - one of betrayal, hypocrisy, forbidden love, suicide and ultimately murder.

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