Thursday 11 June 2009

The Portrait: Iain Pears

Pears goes back for another bash at the mystery with art connections, but from a new angle. It isn't a detective story with some Old Master as the MacGuffin but an unfolding monologue that slowly presents the picture of an artist carrying out what seems like a long-anticipated and intricately planned murder. Pears' narrative voice is mostly effective here, and even though I began to suspect the ending within the first 10 pages of this short novel, the twists and turns that lead the narrator to his vengeful act are fascinating. The pace is not even, just as in The Dream Of Scipio there are moments when it seems the author is only using the story and the character as a peg to hang his own musings, but the last 20 pages or so are completely gripping. And yes, more than only a creepy, murderous monologue, but the balance between plot and theme is much more successful than in The Dream Of Scipio.

No comments: