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How to Paint a Dead Man by Sarah Hall

How to Paint a Dead Man (2009)

by Sarah Hall

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3201552,303 (3.34)54



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"How to Paint a Dead Man," tells the story of four people - four generations of artists. The book examines what constitutes them - art, life, great teachers and loss. How much inspiration can you get from someone you've never met? What does art perceive in reality that can not see differently? And most importantly, how can you continue living when a significant part of your life taken away from you?

The characters in the story written by an artist - exciting, fascinating and inspiring; The author succeeded in characterizing each nature separately and yet forming them into a complete plot, describing completely different landscapes in vivid and complementary colors, examining disturbing and turbulent emotions in precise and delicate language. Reading the book is a delightful experience, whether in the mind of the heroes or the particular philosophy of works of art and is strongly recommended. ( )
  Lithamerrsmith | Jan 9, 2019 |
My least favorite of Sarah Hall's work, but still worth 4 stars! ( )
  Eye_Gee | May 8, 2017 |
Beautifully written but I never felt like the narrative threads really came together to create something larger. ( )
  laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
It was OK, the language was pleasing, but I didn't feel particularly for any of the characters, and there was no conclusion, everything fizzled out without feeling resolved... which is true to life but not satisfying in a story for me ( )
  jkdavies | Jun 14, 2016 |
Hmm. I think this is more artifact than art, an exercise in technique rather than a coherent narrative. But yet it works on many levels. Each of the 4 intertwined stories is engrossing in itself and how the lives of these characters are connected becomes clear chapter by chapter. Giorgio the famous reclusive and grumpy artist. Peter the somewhat famous Cumbrian landscape artist and major pain in the neck . Susan his daughter suffering from the loss of her symbiotic twin. Annette - the most sympathetic character for me - the blind flower seller in an Italian village. Each character is well formed and interesting and the time and place beautifully evoked


It doesn't go anywhere. Nothing is resolved, no tensions released, nothing. Its as thought the publisher's deadline arrives and the author just ends it. Leaving me to think this might have been better as 4 (or perhaps 2) short stories.
So a bit like haute cuisine food. Beautifully presented, interesting to investigate, but fundamentally unsatisfying. ( )
2 vote Opinionated | Jul 20, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
"People are aware of the heart, slopping about like a piece of lively meat inside the chest, as if it isn't snug, as if it hasn't been fitted right." Sarah Hall knows how to write a good sentence. Her ripe, tangy prose, as effective on landscape as it is on people's minds, gave her an auspicious start as a novelist, pushing her first novel, The Electric Michelangelo, on to a Booker shortlist and winning the John Llewellyn Rhys prize for her third, The Carhullan Army. How to Paint a Dead Man will not disappoint her champions. It is a stylish novel, as replete with ideas as it is technically ambitious, interweaving four separate strands and characters across different times and places.
added by kidzdoc | editThe Guardian, Sarah Dunant (Jun 6, 2009)
Conceptually, Sarah Hall’s fourth novel is quiveringly impressionistic. There is a plot, of sorts, unrolled through the stories of four separate individuals whose lives are linked in formal and informal ways, not least by their artistic passions. It’s tempting with a novel steeped in art to comment that the characters are lightly drawn, but here they truly are. What Hall wants us to focus on more is the hinterland of mood and sensation, accessed through the poetry of her prose: twins in utero hearing 'the wet chamber music’ of their mother’s body, or market-goers 'pausing at the cheese counter with its loamy globes’.
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The lives of four individuals -- a dying painter, a blind girl, a landscape artist, and an art curator -- intertwine across nearly five decades in this luminous and searching novel of extraordinary power.

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