Sarah Hall, How to Paint a Dead Man

Sarah Hall’s How to Paint a Dead Man is probably the best book I’ve read so far in 2010; it’s stupendously well-written and extremely involving.

Hall focuses on four disparate stories of four individuals – an Italian painter (loosely based on the great Giorgio Morandi) and a naive Italian girl in the 1950s and a young Englishwoman in the present and a famous English painter during the 1980s – and ties them slowly together (I did, in fact, have to draw a chart for myself) in surprising and sometimes heartbreaking ways, while using different types of narrative for each person etc.

It’s hard for me to write reviews of books that I think are really, really good, so I guess I will just close by saying that I loved this book. I haven’t read many of the other Booker Prize nominees for 2009, but Hall has set the bar quite high!

(Read from February 8-9, 2010)


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