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The Painter of Battles by Arturo…
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The Painter of Battles (2006)

by Arturo Pérez-Reverte (Author)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (21)  Spanish (4)  Danish (2)  Italian (1)  French (1)  All languages (29)
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
bookshelves: autumn-2013, fraudio, translation, tbr-busting-2013, art-forms, published-2006, spain, war, revenge, philosophy, teh-brillianz, mystery-thriller
Read from October 07 to 09, 2013

Simon Vance reads.

From the cover: Acclaimed author Arturo Perez-Reverte has earned a distinguished reputation as a master of the literary thriller with his international bestsellers The Club Dumas and The Queen of the South. Now, in this haunting new work, Perez-Reverte has written his most accomplished novel to date. "The Painter of Battles "is a captivating tale of love, war, art, and revenge.

So whilst humming along painting a huge mural depicting war there is a knock at the door *rap rap* and standing there is a man who says...

And the visitor comes everyday and the talk is of morals and war, art and ethics. Hands up who else sees this is Dickens's Christmas Carol all over again without resorting to the metaphysical, and this prize winning photo-journalist has some sticky questions to answer.

Have found that Arturo Pérez-Reverte is consistently to my liking and isn't it wonderful when that happens. Art in historical fiction rings all my bells and this one kept me on the edge of my seat

The Soldier Drinks by Chagall

Goya

4* The Club Dumas
3* The Flanders Panel
3* Captain Alatriste
4* Purity of Blood
3* The Sun over Breda
5* The Painter of Battles

Crossposted Booklikes, aNobii, LibraryThing GoodReads ( )
  mimal | Oct 8, 2013 |
A little bit different than most of Perez-Reverte's books, but I really enjoyed the discussion of art. It made me go to the library and look up all the different artists and works discussed.

Synopsis: Old guy secluded himself in a tower on the coast of Spain to paint a mural that will be his life's work and culmination of his work as a war photographer. Mysterious stranger shows up and learns his life story. ( )
  jessiejluna | Jun 15, 2013 |
I was wary coming into this one after having given up on the last Pérez-Reverte book I tried. This wariness was a little uncalled for, since I had immensely enjoyed three others he wrote, but in the end it was justified. I went back and forth between being intrigued and downright bored, and quite truthfully only the slim 200-page count convinced me to see it through.

The main character, Faulques, is a former war photographer who has retired to an old tower to paint a mural of battles, an attempt at catharsis after what he had seen and lost. A soldier who he had photographed, Markovic, shows up and announces that he is going to kill him, starting off a long conversation between the two regarding the nature of man and war.

I would say it would be characteristic of me to prefer actual plot to philosophizing in a novel, but to my surprise, every time the book left the main discussion and flashed back to the photographer's past and his relationship with his lover and their travels through war-torn areas, I nearly fell asleep. The lover, Olvido, is the sort of creature that only exists in fiction, or perhaps only in the minds of men who are dreamers who conjure up untouchable women one can never really know. She is prone to the most ridiculous, romantic (in both senses of the word) dialogue that no real person would ever consider saying. The descriptions of her reminded me of an article I read about overrused elements in YA novels - "Does your character have magical green eyes? Do you keep mentioning them?" It seemed almost tragic to see it in literate fiction.

It was always with relief that I would return to the main conversation, leaving ridiculous Olvido behind. Pérez-Reverte was a war journalist himself, which adds considerable weight to the philosophizing. The conversation between Falques and Markovic is deep and uncomfortable and deserves more than two stars, but I resented Olvido's interruptions so much by the end that I can't bring myself to give it more. ( )
  BrookeAshley | May 20, 2013 |
If I could give half ratings, this book would score a 4 1/2 stars...it has it's flaws but quite a few passages are quite brilliant.

The basic premise is the life story, looking towards the past, of a famous war photographer. He's isolated and painting a huge battle to rival anything he's seen in real life throughout all of the countries and people he's photographing at war.


But very soon within the first part of the book, he's confronted by a man who was the subject of one of his photos...the man claims his life has been ruined by that photo, perhaps even more so than after he lost his wife and son. This is a man who has been studying our protagonist for years...every photograph has proved to be a research point up until this moment of confrontation.


What ensues for the majority of the novel, besides intermittent graphic details of war, is a philosophical debate in which the major question at hand is what responsibility lies inherent within the photographer. It's also a story, in many ways of love lost...a love that seems quite honestly rather epic even only from the male protagonist's perspective.


Besides, it has a good ending. ( )
  kirstiecat | Mar 31, 2013 |
Why do writers write about what is art? Just write a story and stop the philosophizing and navel gazing. I just couldn't get into this book. I had read The Fencing Master and loved the lyrical quality of that book and while this one retained that lyricism it was just impossible to get into. I "Pearl Ruled" it. ( )
  benitastrnad | Jan 22, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Pérez-Reverte, ArturoAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Peden, Margaret SayersTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Saint Augustine has seen that one labors in uncertainty at sea andin battles and in all the rest, but he has not seen the rules of the game. --Blaise Pascal, Pensees, 234
Dedication
First words
He swam one hundred and fifty strokes out to sea and the same number back, as he did each morning, until he felt the round pebbles of the shore beneath his feet.
Quotations
A photograph is no longer a witness, it has become a part of the scene around us. Anyone can comfortably choose the parcel of horror he wishes to be moved by. (10)
From so much abuse, so much manipulation, it's been a long time since a picture was worth a thousand words. But that isn't your fault. It isn't the way you see things that's been devalued, it's the tools you use. There are just too many photos, don't you agree? The world is saturated with photographs. (63)
There are no barbarians now, Falques. They are all inside us. And there aren't even ruins like those of the past... In a different time, she'd said--moving with care among chunks of cement and twisted iron, camera to her eye, searching for the right framing--ruins were indestructible. Isn't that true? They stayed there for centuries and centuries, though people used the stones for their houses and the marble for their palaces. And then a Hubert Robert or a Magnasco came along with his easel and painted them. It isn't like that now. Just look at this. Our world creates rubble instead of ruins, and as soon as possible a bulldozer comes and everything disappears, ready to be forgotten. (107)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0812977300, Paperback)

Andrés Faulques, a world-renowned war photographer, has retreated to a tower overlooking the Spanish coast, where he paints a vast mural incorporating the indelible images of conflict he’s witnessed in his lifetime.

One night, an unexpected visitor interrupts his solitude. As Faulques struggles to recall the face, the man explains that he was the subject of an iconic photo taken by Faulques in a war zone years ago–a photo that destroyed his life. “And why have you come looking for me?” asks Faulques. The stranger answers, “Because I’m going to kill you.”

So begins a life-or-death exchange in which Faulques is forced to recall a time when he loved a beautiful woman and risked his life daily for art and testimony. Yet as the tense dialogue between Faulques and his would-be killer continues, the stakes grow even higher. What they are grappling with becomes not just Faulques’ fate, but the very nature of love and cruelty itself.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:33:50 -0400)

Faulques, a war photographer, witnessed most of the wars of the end of the 20th Century, but he was never able to capture the photo that would explain the chaos of the universe. Now, as continues to try to understand it, he starts painting a grand circular fresco on the inside wall of a tower on the Mediterranean, disturbed by the memories of a woman he can never forget, and an unexpected visit: a man who wants to kill him.… (more)

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