Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Nickelini's Review -- The Underpainter

From my Orange July 2010 comments:

Rating: 4/5 stars

Comments:The narrator, Austin Fraser, is a successful painter from New York who is in his old age, reflecting back on his life. He is emotionally stunted and has suppressed commitment and genuine friendship his whole life. I've known selfish artist types like him, and so I had no sympathy for the character. However, the people who's lives he messed with--namely Augusta, George & Sara--were very interesting and likable, and their stories made up most of the book. Their stories traverse from New York to the north shores of Lake Superior and Lake Ontario, and over to the WWI battlefields of France.

A  LibraryThing friend with similar tastes as mine gave up on this book in the first 100 pages, and I can see her point. It got off to a slow start. But Urquhart is a beautiful writer, and I saw glimmers of promise so I persevered, and was rewarded for my patience. Urquhart is one of those poetic, atmospheric writers that are a treat for the senses.

Recommended for: readers of literary fiction who are in the mood for a somewhat chilly, distracted, meandering journey.

Why I Read This Now: Although I loved two other Urquhart novels that I've read, and this book has been in my TBR pile for years, I was just never interested in this one. But it's Orange prize July, and I needed to go on a couple of flights, and this was one of the lighter Orange prize books I own, and the first page grabbed me . . . and there you have it.

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