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The Italian Teacher

by Tom Rachman

Modern and Classic Literary Fiction

The Italian Teacher Synopsis


Rome, 1955 The artists are gathering together for a photograph. In one of Rome's historic villas, a party glitters with socialites and patrons. Bear Bavinsky, creator of vast, masculine, meaty canvases, is their god. He is at the centre of the picture. His wife, Natalie, edges out of the shot. From the side of the room watches little Pinch - their son. At five years old he loves Bear almost as much as he fears him. After Bear abandons their family, Pinch will still worship him, while Natalie faces her own wars with the art world. Trying to live up to his father's name - one of the twentieth century's fiercest and most controversial painters - Pinch never quite succeeds. Yet by the end of a career of twists and compromises, he enacts an unexpected rebellion that will leave forever his mark upon the Bear Bavinsky legacy. What makes an artist?

In The Italian Teacher, Tom Rachman displays a nuanced understanding of art and its demons. Moreover, in Pinch he achieves a portrait of vulnerability and frustrated talent that - with his signature humour and humanity -- challenges the very idea of greatness.

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The Italian Teacher Press Reviews

Compelling . . . His eye for the absurdities of the art world is cutting and funny -- Mika Ross-Southall - Times Literary Supplement

Subtle, tender, profound, beautiful, funny, perfection of a book . . . Rachman, like Saul Bellow, has a gift of instant emotional connectivity, one related to but greater than empathy. We want to know every detail about the people in his novels. And we want to know them, take them into our lives, because they are people, not characters . . . Stay in bed for a day and read Tom Rachman. -- Helen Elliot - Australian

Rachman's new novel may well be his most impressive yet . . . spirited writing . . . In the end, this deceptively subtle novel offers a surprisingly upbeat message: that even a life marked by outward failure can contain many hidden kinds of success - Financial Times

The Italian Teacher confirms Rachman's reputation as a shepherd of lost souls . . . In the trompe l'oeil of Rachman's satire, the pretensions of the art world seem to reach off the page . . . deliciously ironic and deeply affectionate -- Ron Charles - Wall Street Journal

A poignant, touching tale about living in the shadow of brazen artistic genius. Otherwise, reading Rachman is simply de rigueur if you appreciate literary fiction's brightest, newest voices . . . Rachman writes compelling stories of the entangled lives of damaged, endearing characters and their struggles to discover who they are . . . Rachman's narrative is rich with wordplay, clever dialogue and subtle insights. His plot twists blindside you . . . The brilliant finale will leave you surprised, sad and uplifted. -- Don Oldenburg - USA Today

Tom Rachman's novel charts the wreckage left in the wake of greatness . . . Despite its breadth, though, the book is intimate, subtly exploring its characters' inner lives . . . [Pinch's] struggle to find meaning amid the rubble becomes a surprisingly suspenseful quest. For all his faults, Pinch is gifted with wisdom, as is the author of this sad, funny and moving novel - Economist

Tom Rachman is a relentlessly entertaining writer, mixing high-wire ideas with effervescent prose . . . Rachman asks interesting questions about the tension between legacy and self-determination. -- Claire Allfree - Daily Mail

This rich novel is both an intriguing examination of the nature of authenticity in art and the moving story of misplaced filial love, with an immensely satisfying denouement -- Simon Humphreys - Mail on Sunday

I loved it. A story of a globally famous overbearing father and how that affects the life of his son set against the backdrop of mid-20th century modern art. A beautiful little gem. - Rick O'Shea, RTE Radio

The Italian Teacher is a marvel - an entertaining, heartbreaking novel about art, family, loyalty, and authenticity. Tom Rachman is an enormously talented writer - this book is alive, from the first page to the last. - Tom Perotta

Often wickedly funny - Rachman has an eye for life's cruelty worth of Waugh - but it is also deeply touching in its tender portrayals of life's victims . . . I confess this was the first of Rachman's novels I'd read but I was so swept away by it that I raced out to buy the other three -- Patrick Gale - Daily Telegraph

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781786482570
Publication date: 22/03/2018
Publisher: riverrun an imprint of Quercus Publishing
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781786482570
Publication date: 22nd March 2018
Author: Tom Rachman
Publisher: riverrun an imprint of Quercus Publishing
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 336 pages
Genres: Literary Fiction,
Categories: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),

About Tom Rachman

Tom Rachman was born in London and raised in Vancouver. He is a graduate of the University of Toronto and the Columbia School of Journalism. He has been a foreign correspondent for The Associated Press (stationed in Rome, with assignments taking him to Japan, South Korea, Turkey and Egypt, among other places). From 2006 to 2008, he worked as an editor at the International Herald Tribune in Paris. The Imperfectionists is his first novel and is being published in ten countries.

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