Pinch Bavinsky feels utterly swallowed by the shadow of his famous artist father, the great Bear Bavinsky, who produces, in addition to critically acclaimed paintings, at least a dozen other children from nearly as many wives, all competing for Bear’s love and inheritance. Both men are difficult, jovial and reclusive talents who feel infinitely misunderstood, yet in spite of or because of these traits, Bear barrels on successfully while Pinch, the chosen favorite child, staggers quite sadly through life. Tom Rachman balances this quirky tragicomedy so cleverly that I couldn’t tell if I was going to laugh or want to cry from one scene to the next, as father and son battle their existential weight for validation, and ultimately legacy, in the art world. Recommended By Aubrey W., Powells.com
Tom Rachman's bestselling author status will continue with The Italian Teacher. I was completely immersed in this family drama, and admired Pinch's determination to maintain a relationship with his distant father, a famous artist. One of my 2018 favorites, so far! Recommended By Kim S., Powells.com
This book! Rachman writes a gorgeous, complex, and mesmerizing character study of a man whose life is utterly overshadowed by his artistic parents, particularly his father. Skewering the world of art — both financially and aesthetically — Rachman's flaying is deliciously wicked; that alone could carry this novel, but there's more.
Following Pinch from childhood through young adulthood and into middle age, Rachman manages to capture the repetitive sting caused by a father whose approval is so desperately desired, yet constantly withheld. Stacking up a lifetime of crushing emotional blows, Rachman depicts Pinch as a modern day Jude the Obscure — just never good enough. But Pinch is good at some things, and his way of subverting his pain and paying back the lifetime of criticism he's endured is brilliantly realized. For those who have struggled with hypercritical parents, or never, ever felt adequate, this story is glorious redemption. Recommended By Dianah H., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2018 by The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Amazon.com, Instyle, Poets and Writers, Southern Living, Seattle Times, Chicago Review of Books, Newsday, The Boston Herald, and more.
A masterful novel about the son of a great painter striving to create his own legacy, by the bestselling author of The Imperfectionists.
Conceived while his father, Bear, cavorted around Rome in the 1950s, Pinch learns quickly that Bear’s genius trumps all. After Bear abandons his family, Pinch strives to make himself worthy of his father’s attention — first trying to be a painter himself; then resolving to write his father’s biography; eventually settling, disillusioned, into a job as an Italian teacher in London. But when Bear dies, Pinch hatches a scheme to secure his father’s legacy — and make his own mark on the world.
With his signature humanity and humor, Tom Rachman examines a life lived in the shadow of greatness, cementing his place among his generation’s most exciting literary voices.
“The Italian Teacher is a marvel — an entertaining, heartbreaking novel about art, family, loyalty, and authenticity. Tom Rachman is an enormously talented writer — this book is alive, from the first page to the last.” Tom Perotta, bestselling author of The Leftovers
“A momentous drama of a volatile relationship and the fundamental will to survive.” Booklist, starred review
“The reliably excellent Rachman this time offers a nuanced, fascinating portrait of a celebrated painter looking ahead to his legacy.” Entertainment Weekly
About the Author
Tom Rachman was born in London in 1974 and raised in Vancouver. He attended the University of Toronto and Columbia Journalism School, then worked as a journalist for the Associated Press in New York and Rome and for the International Herald Tribune in Paris. His first novel, The Imperfectionists, was an international bestseller, translated into 25 languages. He lives in London.
Tom Rachman on PowellsBooks.Blog
It’s 1955, at a party in a lush Roman palazzo. A wealthy American art collector has invited all the expat socialites — plus one of the great painters of modern art, Bear Bavinsky, a brawny, beardy charmer known for his wildly colored (and wildly sexualized) canvases. As Bear regales everyone with tales of rivals like Picasso and Pollock...