The Underpainter

The Underpainter

3.65 (2,210 ratings by Goodreads)
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Austin Fraser's painting teacher had indoctrinated him with the view that unless something could be turned into art, it simply was not worth his time. And in this he included people. Austin certainly applied the principle to Sara Pengelly, who lived alone on the northern edge of Lake Superior, and whom Austin travelled north to visit for fifteen summers. During his annual visits Austin scrutinised Sara's every nuance of face and body with a bloodless and voracious intimacy - accumulating and hoarding her image for the paintings he executed in his New York studio during the rest of the year. He was her lover but he never dreamt of loving her. Art did not demand it. THE UNDERPAINTER is a breathtaking novel that examines art as exploitation, whilst interweaving captivating narrative threads of First World War drama; a world of war the purist Austin snobbishly despised until his friend in the field was himself shattered.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 290 pages
  • 122 x 196 x 20mm | 240.41g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 0747535213
  • 9780747535218
  • 1,120,343

Review quote

"Her language is pure, dazzling in its precision, like the etching of ice on glass."
-"Globe and Mail"
"A painterly masterwork...poignant in each of its several landscapes and subtle in tracing the mingled nuances of love and pain."
-Kirkus Reviews
"The detached eye of the narrator never falters, though passion hums beneath the surface like some vast primeval beast beneath the ice."
-"The Independent" (U.K.)
"Writing with the eye of a painter, Urquhart transforms the energy of the world into enduring literature."
-"Kitchener-Waterloo Record"
"Urquhart is one of Canada's most accomplished and interesting writers."
-"Edmonton Journal"
"Original and dazzling, radiant and quietly perceptive, Urquhart's new novel delights the senses even as it astonishes the mind...."
-"London Free Press"
"A lyrical novel with a deep, unsentimental connection to ordinary life...[Urquhart's] language is vivid enough to take your breath away."
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About Jane Urquhart

Jane Urquhart is the author of the novels: THE WHIRLPOOL, CHANGING HEAVEN, AWAY, which won the Trillium Award in 1993 and was shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and THE STONECARVERS. She lives in south-western Ontario.
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Rating details

2,210 ratings
3.65 out of 5 stars
5 21% (463)
4 38% (829)
3 30% (658)
2 9% (202)
1 3% (58)
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