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The Portrait

Iain Pears: The Portrait (UK 2006)

From the Publisher:
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 fêted 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 Naysmith 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 Nasmith's true character on canvas, a story unfolds - one of betrayal, hypocrisy, forbidden love, suicide and ultimately murder.

"The Portrait" is a darkly atmospheric, psychologically complex, macabre and chilling novel from a master storyteller.

Iain Pears: The Portrait. Harper Perennial, ISBN: 0007232810 (August, 2006), 211 p., £7.99.

 

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The Portrait

Iain Pears: The Portrait (USA 2006)

From the Publisher:
An art critic journeys to a remote island off Brittany to sit for a portrait painted by an old friend, a gifted but tormented artist living in self-imposed exile. The painter recalls their years of friendship, the gift of the critic's patronage, and his callous betrayals. As he struggles to capture the character of the man, as well as his image, on canvas, it becomes clear that there is much more than a portrait at stake...

Iain Pears: The Portrait. Riverhead Books, ISBN: 159448175X (April, 2006), 224 p., $13.00.

 

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The Portrait

Iain Pears: The Portrait (UK 2005)

From the Publisher:
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 feted 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 Naysmith 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 Nasmith's true character on canvas, a story unfolds -- one of betrayal, hypocrisy, forbidden love, suicide and ultimately murder. The Portrait is a darkly atmospheric, psychologically complex, macabre and chilling novel from a master storyteller.

Iain Pears: The Portrait. HarperCollins, ISBN: 0007202768 (July, 2005), 211 p., £15.00.

 

AMAZON.DE

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The Portrait

Iain Pears: The Portrait (USA 2005)

From the Publisher:
A perfectly rendered short novel of suspense about a painter driven to extremes.
An influential art critic in the early years of the twentieth century journeys from London to the rustic, remote island of Houat, off France's northwest coast, to sit for a portrait painted by an old friend, a gifted but tormented artist living in self-imposed exile. Over the course of the sitting, the painter recalls their years of friendship, the double-edged gift of the critic's patronage, the power he wielded over aspiring artists, and his apparent callousness in anointing the careers of some and devastating the lives of others. The balance of power between the two men shifts dramatically as the critic becomes a passive subject, while the painter struggles to capture the character of the man, as well as his image, on canvas.

Reminiscing with ease and familiarity one minute, with anger and menace the next, the painter eventually reveals why he has accepted the commission of this portrait, why he left London suddenly and mysteriously at the height of his success, and why now, with dark determination, he feels ready to return.

Set against the dramatic, untamed landscape of Brittany during one of the most explosive periods in art history, The Portrait is rich with atmosphere and suggestion, psychological complexity, and marvelous detail. It is a novel you will want to begin again immediately after turning the last chilling page, to read once more with a watchful eye and appreciate the hand of an ingenious storyteller at work.

Iain Pears: The Portrait. Riverhead Books, ISBN: 1573222984 (April, 2005), 211 p., $19.95.

 

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