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Pictures at an Exhibition by Camilla…
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Pictures at an Exhibition (edition 2012)

by Camilla Macpherson

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122768,668 (3.29)None
Member:Caramellunacy
Title:Pictures at an Exhibition
Authors:Camilla Macpherson
Info:Arrow (2012), Paperback, 400 pages
Collections:Your library, London
Rating:***
Tags:WWII, home front, art, London, Blitz, marriage in trouble, miscarriage

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Pictures at an Exhibition by Camilla Macpherson

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This is a dual time frame story. Claire and Rob, in modern day London, have experienced a tragic event which threatens to drive them apart. Daisy, in wartime London, writes to her distant cousin and friend, Elizabeth, Rob's grandmother who moved to Canada just before war broke out. Along with news of her life, Daisy tells of the picture of the month, a painting displayed every month at the National Gallery from those archived for safety in wartime.

I really enjoyed this book. The descriptions of the paintings was interesting and led me to look up each of them to see what Daisy was describing. The two strands of the story work well together as Claire finds solace and then healing in Daisy's words.

I found it a very easy book to read, no great dramas or earth-shattering reveals, but a pleasant book to pick up and enjoy. ( )
  nicx27 | Jun 11, 2014 |
Pictures at an Exhibition is one of the worst books I've ever read.

The basic idea is a good one, but it was totally squandered on a childish and selfish present-day character, and an equally selfish wartime character. For example, Claire blames the 'terrible tragedy' on her husband (and, thus, persecutes him relentlessly), because if it's not his fault, it must be her fault (maybe it was no-one's 'fault'). Daisy's letters are entirely one-sided: she writes solely about her own life, and never once asks about her sister's.

Throughout the book, the language is trite and simplistic, and the story has little substance; it's also poorly edited. Very disappointing. ( )
  ethicsgirl | Nov 15, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0099560445, Paperback)

A story of art and love, and the brutal tragedy of war.
 
November 1942
Dear Elizabeth, I've got myself a new project, to cheer myself up a bit. It has absolutely nothing to do with the war effort. We're completely starved of art in London these days. Anything decent was stashed away by the authorities years ago. But the National Gallery is going to dust off one masterpiece each month, put it on display, and allow us masses to trail in front of it. I've promised myself solemnly that I will go along each month to see whichever painting it is that has been chosen, then write and tell you all about it. So, what do you think? It must be better than knitting socks for sailors or collecting old tin to turn into Spitfires.
Love Daisy
 
Seventy years later, Daisy's words have an unimagined effect on Claire. Devastated after a miscarriage she has distanced herself from her own life, and from her husband Rob. Unable to deal with her own reality, Claire becomes obsessed with Daisy, and as she traces her life, month-by-month, painting-by-painting, she starts to notice intriguing parallels between their lives. But Daisy is from another time, and though the paintings remain as beautiful as ever, Claire needs to accept that the past cannot be changed and that she must let Daisy go if she is ever to move on.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:23:28 -0400)

London, 1942. With bombs raining down on London, the National Gallery's most treasured paintings have been hidden away. The authorities have decided that only one masterpiece will be displayed each month. And each month, Daisy Milton writes to her cousin Elizabeth to tell her about the paintings, her life and the man she loves.… (more)

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