red tailed lockdown, early morning

Monday, March 3, 2008

The Painter of Battles

John Morris was kind enough to send me the new book by the Spanish author Arturo Perez Reverte, The Painter of Battles. It is an interesting book by one of my favorite writers but suffers from a problem typical in modern literature - all of the characters are too frigging smart. We all know that our real life is largely inhabited by knuckle dragging morons so it just doesn't ring true when book characters  are having round the clock epiphanies and resultant light bulbs going off in their noggins. When I fancied myself a writer a decade or two ago, it was a constant problem - who are we creating for: the lowest common denominator or the smartest guy in the room.   Perez Reverte's characters tend to all have Planck's theorem and Schrodinger's equation pretty well mapped out.

Perez Reverte is an ex war correspondent turned novelist and he brings an interesting  perspective to the table. This book concerns a war photographer who is trying to get over the loss of a lover and turns to painting.  I recommend it. In most of his novels the lead female character manages a great betrayal but in this one there is no Jezebel for once.

I don't know why I love latin writers so much - Zafon, Allende, Llosa, Marquez - they all  write so floridly with a touch of the supernatural that I like.  Maybe its just their translators that are so good, I don't know.

I think John loaned me the book out of guilt for not sending me back Preston's Cities of Gold, which I had borrowed from someone else so don't lend books, kids... 

3 comments:

Carrie Repking said...

Another Latin author you might enjoy is Roberto Bolano. His translated "The Savage Detectives" is out in paperback now and was listed on many best of 2007 book lists. It's on my stack of must reads.

Anonymous said...

try reading them in the original Spanish sometime, alongside the translated version, it's fun...

Blue Heron said...

No lo tengo bastante espanol. Entiendo poquito pero uno libro, no si puede...