Five Photos of My Wife
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Five Photos of My Wife by Agnes Desarthe
Book DescriptionThe English debut of a bestselling novelist, kin to Penelope Fitzgerald and Louis Begley in style and subtlety. At eighty, Max Opass is still reeling from the death of his wife a year earlier. His two grown-up children live abroad with their own families, his son in Bolivia, his daughter in Japan: he writes awkwardly to his daughter with the news of his humdrum activities and tells her that he's decided to have his wife's portrait committed to paper or canvas, permanently and posthumously. So, he looks up 'Artists' in the Yellow Pages, picks a few for arbitrary reasons, and calls them up. He asks each if they will paint a portrait of his wife, using his five favourite photographs of her for their sole visual reference. One artist - successful and modish - intimidates him; another - an amateur raising kids by herself - prompts him to pity; a pair of art students baffle him; and a bridge-playing acquaintance turns out to have elderly hots for him. Each encounter, each portrait, is both comic and moving, like Max. As these accumulate, the reader comes to realise that Max's grasp on who his wife really was is not so sure after all. The book oscillates calmly between being amusing and being reflective, and delivers a powerful slow punch at its close. Agnes Desarthe began her writing life as a children's writer, and it shows here: as in Gretta Mulrooney's 'Araby', not a word is wasted and the pace is even and sure. In its sympathetic but unsentimental portrayal of a deluded old man, the book is reminiscent of Louis Begley's work. And in her dry wit, exquisite ear for conversation and reverberating sense of more being meant than at first seems apparent, there are echoes of Penelope Fitzgerald or Hilary Mantel.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780007291601
(129mm x 198mm x 9mm)
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publish Date: 3-Jun-2008
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
Books By Author Agnes Desarthe
Foundling, Paperback (February 2013)
From the author of Chez Moi, a tenderly drawn novel of loss and loneliness, friendship and love
Chez Moi, Paperback (April 2009)» View all books by Agnes Desarthe
Myriam's decision to open a restaurant in her Paris flat is characteristically unexpected and transforms her life in a curious way. For six years, Myriam has been living in self-imposed exile, cut off from her cool, reserved husband and from her son, and the opening night of Chez Moi is typically desolate.
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Author Biography - Agnes Desarthe
Agnes Desarthe is a prize-winning author of children's books, among her published books for adults are 'Five Photos of My Wife' and 'Good Intentions'.
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