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El Pintor de Batallas by Arturo…
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El Pintor de Batallas (original 2006; edition 2006)

by Arturo Perez-Reverte

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Member:aitormedrano
Title:El Pintor de Batallas
Authors:Arturo Perez-Reverte
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The Painter of Battles by Arturo Pérez-Reverte (Author) (2006)

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English (22)  Spanish (4)  Danish (2)  Italian (1)  French (1)  All languages (30)
Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
i am still mulling things over in my head...and also wishing we could give ½ stars here on GR because i am feeling in-between on this one and would feel better with it at a 2 ½-star rating. :/

this is a very philosophical novel, and it had a lot of potential. in the end, though, it felt heavy-handed and not very elegant in its delivery. i found this review from the guardian (2007), which seems to reflect many of the same things i was thinking about and feeling while reading the novel. (except the reviewer erroneously notes markovic's child as a daughter, when it was a son.) http://www.theguardian.com/books/2007/dec/15/fiction

"The Painter of Battles is a strange book, much of its material shoehorned...into its flashbacks, its central dialogue straining under the moral weight placed upon it; it's a messy clash between showing and telling. "

this novel could make for an interesting film or stage adaptation, with the right people - and my brain kept jumping to this idea as i was reading. there's a detached nature to this book which is interesting. on the one hand, with such deep and awful experiences being communicated, it would make sense to have a very emotionally driven story, or a story that results in strong emotional responses. yet that didn't happen with me and i was strongly aware of detachment while reading. but this also makes sense given the idea is touched on during the book, and the fact a war photographer (or this particular war photographer) kept himself emotionally apart from the subjects - people and places - he was capturing on film.

two things i had particular trouble with that i want to mention in this review:
1) the character of olvido - a former model, then photographer who shot high-end and architectural shoots for magazine. she just never became a fully fledged character for me. the best i can guess is that her choice to join faulques as he covers war zones, and then to choose to photograph only objects and not people ties in to her merely being an object herself in this book. the fact of her beauty is repeated again, and again...which brings me to the next issue for me:
2) the translation - i am not sure i trust it? most of the time it seemed okay to fine, but there was a lot of repetition i noticed. and i was constantly wondering how this would read in its original spanish? i feel like, perhaps, the original is mush more beautiful, mate even less heavy-handed, more evocative. but i can't read spanish, so i won't ever know.

so i do feel glad i read the book - i have had it for a while and have heard many raves for other books by pérez-reverte. but i have also read the painter of battles was a departure, and perhaps not his best move/best work. so maybe i will check out [book:The Club Dumas|7194] next. ( )
  DawsonOakes | Sep 13, 2014 |
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 |
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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
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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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