twitter debuts of the month book price comparison killer on the wall win prizes
Search our site
The Treatment by C. L. Taylor Read the opening extract of the brand new C. L. Taylor book before its publication on 19/10/2017

Portrait by Iain Pears
  

Portrait

Literary Fiction   Historical Fiction   eBook Favourites   

RRP £8.99

Download an extract Discuss on Facebook Discuss this book on our Literary Contemporary Facebook group Share this book

Sarah Broadhurst's view...

Coming straight into paperback only, a beautifully produced book with flaps and coloured pictures of some of the paintings brushed over in this extraordinary monologue. Powerful, erudite, menacing, dark, disturbing and strangely gripping, this is a short (224 pages), atmospheric, psychological mystery. Set in the early 20th century, a once feted artist, self-exiled, paints the portrait of his old mentor, a renowned critic and so their lives unfold with startling revelations. I was totally enthralled throughout. It is extraordinarily good.

Comparison: Sarah Waters, Ian McEwan, A S Byatt.
Similar this month: None, but try Gerard Woodward or Tash Aw.

If you like Iain Pears you might also like to read books by Ian McEwan, A S Byatt and Matthew Plampin.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst

Synopsis

Portrait by Iain Pears

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 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.

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

Reviews

'A wonderful, grimly entertaining novel.'
Sunday Telegraph

'A revenge fantasy to relish.'
Independent on Sunday

'Genuinely creepy.'
The Times

'A tense tale of revenge, where the creative bites the critical back.'
Observer

'An exquisite miniature that explores the roles of artist and critic with wit and gore.'
Evening Standard

'This is an atmospheric tour de force of historical writing, as it is of narrative skill.'
Independent

'Illicit love, betrayal and murder darken the pages of this atmospheric disquisition on the art world.'
Daily Mail

'Taut, disturbing...full of interesting observations about the late nineteenth - and early twentieth-century art world ...Mesmerising.'
Spectator

About the Author

Iain Pears

Iain Pears was born in 1955, educated at Wadham College, Oxford and won the Getty Scholarship to Yale University. He has worked as a journalist, an art historian and a television consultant. He is the author of many books, including the bestselling An Instance of the Fingerpost and The Dream Of Scipio.

He lives with his wife and son in Oxford.

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading similar books...
Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

7th August 2006

Author

Iain Pears

More books by Iain Pears
Author 'Like for Like'
    recommendations

Author's Facebook Latest

Loading facebook updates...

Publisher

Harpercollins Publishers

Format

Paperback (b Format)
224 pages

Categories

Literary Fiction
Historical Fiction
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

ISBN

9780007232819

I love reading books I wouldn't normally choose before everyone else gets to read them!

Dawn Lynch

Lovereading is a wonderful way to expand my literary horizons, discover inspiring authors & get the chance to read new novels first. #loveit

Zarina de Ruiter

It has opened my eyes to different authors and genres. Just log on and try, you will be surprised and not want for reading material again.

Jocelyn Garvey

For me, to read is to learn, to reflect, to escape, to think, to contemplate and my time for space and calm.

Sally Ellsmore

Love Reading - it not only does what it says on the tin, it does it with Jam on!!

Maz Tucker

It gives a chance to read about new titles, invites comments from all kinds of readers and is run by such a nice bunch of book lovers.

Joy Bosworth

It's information about new books so, for a book lover like me, what's not to like!

Joan Hill

My favourite thing about is the 'like for like' page this has really introduced me to some good reads! That and lots of honest reviews.

Sam Lewis

Lovereading4kids

Lovereading4schools