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The Portrait

by

The Portrait Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

An art critic journeys to a remote island off Brittany to sit for a portrait painted by an old friend, a gifted but tormented artist living in self-imposed exile. The painter recalls their years of friendship, the gift of the critic's patronage, and his callous betrayals. As he struggles to capture the character of the man, as well as his image, on canvas, it becomes clear that there is much more than a portrait at stake...

Review:

"Justly praised for his complex historical thrillers (An Instance of the Fingerpost; The Dream of Scipio), Pears scales down to a simple tale of vengeance told by a narrator obsessed with destroying the man he once called his friend and mentor. Henry MacAlpine has abandoned his comfortable life as a celebrated portraitist in early 1900s London and fled to a tiny island off the coast of Brittany. To that lonely spot he lures William Naysmith, the British art world's most famous critic, with the promise of painting his portrait. In the course of the narrative, MacAlpine recalls the development of his artistic talent with the advice and praise of the ambitious Naysmith. The suspense lies in the gradual revelation of Naysmith's ruthless use of power, yet the double crime for which MacAlpine holds him accountable comes as little surprise. While this novel never approaches the sly cleverness and tingling suspense of John Lanchester's A Debt to Pleasure, which it otherwise resembles, readers will enjoy some period ironies, as when MacAlpine expresses contempt for the upstart French Impressionists, while the contemptible Naysmith discerns their true genius. Anybody in the business of criticism, whether it be artistic or literary, will be chastened by Pears's indictment of a critic's power to make or ruin reputations. Agent, Felicity Bryan. Forecast: The relative lack of plot may disappoint Pears's readership, but the subject matter will likely make the book popular fodder for reviewers. " Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Don't expect this to appeal to the wide audience that made Fingerpost a best-seller, but for those who prefer the subtlety of a small canvas...Pears' 'portrait' is an exquisite little gem." Booklist (Starred Review)

Review:

"Though Pears's epigrams are not in the same league with Oscar Wilde's, his grasp of melodrama...is sharp as ever, as he finally indicates in disclosing Henry's motive and master plan. A short story's worth of incident floated on a prickly cushion of aphorism." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Pears accomplishes the near-impossible; he turns unstoppable monolog, potentially a one-note bore, into a true tour de force....Pears steps away from [the mystery] genre altogether to produce an extraordinary work. Highly recommended." Library Journal

Review:

"Mighty scary. Only an author as clever and confident as Pears could pull off this trick." Newsweek

Review:

"As he has done in his other novels, Pears cleverly deploys the murder-mystery genre to explore the labyrinthine possibilities of narrative....He sustains a delicately nuanced tone that ranges from chatty bonhomie and happy reminiscence to anger, accusation and menace." Los Angeles Times

Review:

"An elegantly urbane, subtly crafted work that's filled with surprises, shocks and stunning revelations....Once you come to the chilling conclusion of the novel, you recognize how crafty Pears has been in designing his yarn. Things fall devastatingly into place." Providence Journal

Review:

"[A] stripped-down exercise in creeping dread....There's still a great deal of enjoyment to be gained from Pears's wit and able writing, but mystery fans will miss the pleasure of being outsmarted by a master." The Christian Science Monitor

Review:

"[W]onderful....[A] gripping tale that keeps the reader turning the page." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Review:

"This novel, full of such emotional sabotage and honesty, seems dutifully straightforward, especially compared to the baroque intrigue of An Instance of the Fingerpost. It is nonetheless just as splendid an accomplishment." Howard Norman, The Washington Post

Synopsis:

Set against the dramatic, untamed landscape of Brittany during one of the most explosive periods in art history, The Portrait is rich with atmosphere and suggestion, psychological complexity, and marvelous detail.

Synopsis:

A national bestseller from acclaimed author Iain Pears, The Portrait is a novel of suspense and a tour de force.

An art critic journeys to a remote island off Brittany to sit for a portrait painted by an old friend, a gifted but tormented artist living in self-imposed exile. The painter recalls their years of friendship, the gift of the critic's patronage, and his callous betrayals. As he struggles to capture the character of the man, as well as his image, on canvas, it becomes clear that there is much more than a portrait at stake...

Iain Pears's An Instance of the Fingerpost and The Dream of Scipio are also available from Riverhead Books.

Synopsis:

An art critic journeys to a remote island off Brittany to sit for a portrait painted by an old friend, a gifted but tormented artist living in self-imposed exile. The painter recalls their years of friendship, the gift of the critic's patronage, and his callous betrayals. As he struggles to capture the character of the man, as well as his image, on canvas, it becomes clear that there is much more than a portrait at stake...

About the Author

Iain Pears was born in 1955. Educated at Wadham College, Oxford, he has worked as a journalist, an art historian, and a television consultant in England, France, Italy, and the United States. He is the author of seven highly praised detective novels, a book of art history, and countless articles on artistic, financial, and historical subjects, as well as the international bestseller An Instance of the Fingerpost. He lives in Oxford, England.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781594481758
Author:
Pears, Iain
Publisher:
Riverhead Books
Author:
Pears, Iain M.
Subject:
General
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
April 2006
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
224
Dimensions:
7.1 x 5 x 0.62 in 0.36 lb
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

» Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
» Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z

The Portrait Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.50 In Stock
Product details 224 pages Riverhead Books - English 9781594481758 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Justly praised for his complex historical thrillers (An Instance of the Fingerpost; The Dream of Scipio), Pears scales down to a simple tale of vengeance told by a narrator obsessed with destroying the man he once called his friend and mentor. Henry MacAlpine has abandoned his comfortable life as a celebrated portraitist in early 1900s London and fled to a tiny island off the coast of Brittany. To that lonely spot he lures William Naysmith, the British art world's most famous critic, with the promise of painting his portrait. In the course of the narrative, MacAlpine recalls the development of his artistic talent with the advice and praise of the ambitious Naysmith. The suspense lies in the gradual revelation of Naysmith's ruthless use of power, yet the double crime for which MacAlpine holds him accountable comes as little surprise. While this novel never approaches the sly cleverness and tingling suspense of John Lanchester's A Debt to Pleasure, which it otherwise resembles, readers will enjoy some period ironies, as when MacAlpine expresses contempt for the upstart French Impressionists, while the contemptible Naysmith discerns their true genius. Anybody in the business of criticism, whether it be artistic or literary, will be chastened by Pears's indictment of a critic's power to make or ruin reputations. Agent, Felicity Bryan. Forecast: The relative lack of plot may disappoint Pears's readership, but the subject matter will likely make the book popular fodder for reviewers. " Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Don't expect this to appeal to the wide audience that made Fingerpost a best-seller, but for those who prefer the subtlety of a small canvas...Pears' 'portrait' is an exquisite little gem."
"Review" by , "Though Pears's epigrams are not in the same league with Oscar Wilde's, his grasp of melodrama...is sharp as ever, as he finally indicates in disclosing Henry's motive and master plan. A short story's worth of incident floated on a prickly cushion of aphorism."
"Review" by , "Pears accomplishes the near-impossible; he turns unstoppable monolog, potentially a one-note bore, into a true tour de force....Pears steps away from [the mystery] genre altogether to produce an extraordinary work. Highly recommended."
"Review" by , "Mighty scary. Only an author as clever and confident as Pears could pull off this trick."
"Review" by , "As he has done in his other novels, Pears cleverly deploys the murder-mystery genre to explore the labyrinthine possibilities of narrative....He sustains a delicately nuanced tone that ranges from chatty bonhomie and happy reminiscence to anger, accusation and menace."
"Review" by , "An elegantly urbane, subtly crafted work that's filled with surprises, shocks and stunning revelations....Once you come to the chilling conclusion of the novel, you recognize how crafty Pears has been in designing his yarn. Things fall devastatingly into place."
"Review" by , "[A] stripped-down exercise in creeping dread....There's still a great deal of enjoyment to be gained from Pears's wit and able writing, but mystery fans will miss the pleasure of being outsmarted by a master."
"Review" by , "[W]onderful....[A] gripping tale that keeps the reader turning the page."
"Review" by , "This novel, full of such emotional sabotage and honesty, seems dutifully straightforward, especially compared to the baroque intrigue of An Instance of the Fingerpost. It is nonetheless just as splendid an accomplishment."
"Synopsis" by , Set against the dramatic, untamed landscape of Brittany during one of the most explosive periods in art history, The Portrait is rich with atmosphere and suggestion, psychological complexity, and marvelous detail.
"Synopsis" by ,
A national bestseller from acclaimed author Iain Pears, The Portrait is a novel of suspense and a tour de force.

An art critic journeys to a remote island off Brittany to sit for a portrait painted by an old friend, a gifted but tormented artist living in self-imposed exile. The painter recalls their years of friendship, the gift of the critic's patronage, and his callous betrayals. As he struggles to capture the character of the man, as well as his image, on canvas, it becomes clear that there is much more than a portrait at stake...

Iain Pears's An Instance of the Fingerpost and The Dream of Scipio are also available from Riverhead Books.

"Synopsis" by ,
An art critic journeys to a remote island off Brittany to sit for a portrait painted by an old friend, a gifted but tormented artist living in self-imposed exile. The painter recalls their years of friendship, the gift of the critic's patronage, and his callous betrayals. As he struggles to capture the character of the man, as well as his image, on canvas, it becomes clear that there is much more than a portrait at stake...
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