The Italian Teacher
By Tom Rachman
From the bestselling, highly-praised author of The Imperfectionists, a novel about fathers and sons, art and the meaning of life free of legacy
'Deft characterisation, buoyant wit and imaginative richness' Evening Standard
'Masterful . . . slick, entertaining' Guardian
'Funny poignant, occassionally breathtaking' Financial Times
The artists are gathering together for a photograph. In one of Rome's historic villas, a party glitters with socialites and patrons. Bear Bavinsky, creator of vast, masculine, meaty canvases, is their god. He is at the centre of the picture. His wife, Natalie, edges out of the shot.
From the side of the room watches little Pinch - their son. At five years old he loves Bear almost as much as he fears him. After Bear abandons their family, Pinch will still worship him, while Natalie faces her own wars with the art world. Trying to live up to his father's name - one of the twentieth century's fiercest and most controversial painters - Pinch never quite succeeds. Yet by the end of a career of twists and compromises, he enacts an unexpected rebellion that will leave forever his mark upon the Bear Bavinsky legacy.
What makes an artist? In The Italian Teacher, Tom Rachman displays a nuanced understanding of art and its demons. Moreover, in Pinch he achieves a portrait of vulnerability and frustrated talent that - with his signature humour and humanity - challenges the very idea of greatness.
Born in London and raised in Vancouver, Tom Rachman was a foreign correspondent for the Associated Press stationed in Rome, then an editor at the International Herald Tribune in Paris. He is the author of two novels, the international bestseller The Imperfectionists; The Rise and Fall of Great Powers and a short stories collection Basket of Deplorables. He lives in London.
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- Publication date:
22 Mar 2018
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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