Convincing and enthralling read

FAMOUS modernist painter Bear Bavinsky is focused on two things in his life; his art and himself.

Tom Rachman's story centres on Bear's son Pinch who from early childhood tries alternately to move out of the shadow of his celebrated father, or emulate him.

Like many artists, Bear apart from his gifts, has a large dose of selfishness and is obsessed with his art. Inevitably this impacts on his family.

Rachman paints a convincing portrait of Bear, Pinch and long-suffering wife Natalie.

It's hard to be the son of genius; impossible to be the wife.

They come alive in real-life situations that will resonate with readers.

We try to live up to our parents' ambitions at the same time as we crave independence.

Bear abandons his family and yet Pinch still strives to follow in his father's footsteps, first as a painter, then as his biographer, before accepting a job teaching Italian in London.

Out of disillusionment though, comes redemption as he makes his mark and succeeds on his own merits.

I was reminded of Picasso's and also Gauguin's real-life stories where family and friends are abandoned for their art. Edvard Munch once said, "Paintings are my children -they're all I've got”.

Rachman's writing style is subtle, witty and engaging as well as bold and convincing.

His brilliantly-drawn characters and pithy observations ensure an enthralling read.


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