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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0140269738, Paperback)Jane Urquhart's The Underpainter is a very modern novel preoccupied with the power of the past. Austin Fraser, born in 1894, is a modernist who relentlessly paints over his canvases, much as he tries to eradicate people from his life. Though he insists that he has forgone emotion and love, when he receives news of a women he once knew, he can no longer stop memories from encroaching.
Urquhart's novel ranges from late-century Rochester, New York, to Ontario to Paris to New York City. And not since Patrick White's The Vivisector have there been such disturbing scenes of the painter in action: "I believed that I was drawing--literally drawing--everything out of her, that his act of making art filled the space around me so completely there would be no other impressions possible beyond the ones I controlled." Amazingly, by exposing Fraser's emptiness, Urquhart makes us pity him. Though she has said that she was "quite angry with Austin" while writing The Underpainter, the author's language incises his reluctant humanity and turns his life into a work of art.
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:00:37 -0400)
The memoir of an aging painter who spent his life hoarding other people's experiences which he absorbed into his art, but never gave anything in return, even to the woman who loved him. Heart of granite, or fear of happiness? He himself is unable to decide.
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