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Download The Portrait Audiobook (Unabridged)

Extended Audio Sample The Portrait (Unabridged), by Iain Pears
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (792 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Iain Pears Narrator: Simon Vance Publisher: Penguin Audiobooks Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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An influential art critic in the early years of the 20th century journeys from London to the rustic, remote island of Houat, off France's northwest coast, to sit for a portrait painted by an old friend, a gifted but tormented artist living in self-imposed exile. Over the course of the sitting, the painter recalls their years of friendship, the double-edged gift of the critic's patronage, the power he wielded over aspiring artists, and his apparent callousness in anointing the careers of some and devastating the lives of others. The balance of power between the two men shifts dramatically as the critic becomes a passive subject, while the painter struggles to capture the character of the man, as well as his image, on canvas.

Reminiscing with ease and familiarity one minute, with anger and menace the next, the painter eventually reveals why he has accepted the commission of this portrait, why he left London suddenly and mysteriously at the height of his success, and why now, with dark determination, he feels ready to return.

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. It is a novel you will want to begin again immediately after turning the last chilling page, to read once more with a watchful eye and appreciate the hand of an ingenious storyteller at work. Download and start listening now!


Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Becca | 2/15/2014

    " Iain pears is a great writer. This book is somewhat odd to start reading as it is told like a monologue by a reclusive artist to his sitter, an old friend and art critic. Set in the early 20th century it is fascinating from a historical perspective and because pears is a master at building both relationships and suspense. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by dannymac | 2/12/2014

    " Dull, boring.... Old hat..... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Isabelle | 2/1/2014

    " Iain Pears always writes a good book, and this monologue recounting the face to face of two old friends/enemies is well worth reading. While the two unearth their past, a portrait is being painted. The problem for me is double: I could not help thinking the critic character was so inspired by Ruskin that his real biography kept popping in my head, and I read this book after I read John Lanchester's "Debt to Pleasure" that it is very obviously inspired from or at least a connoisseur's homage to, somewhat of a problem as "Debt to Pleasure" is so much more thrilling. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Ananda | 1/27/2014

    " This surely is one of the worst books I've read in my life. The story was awful, the plot way too boring, and the characters...no personality if I may say. All I felt after I read this book was a great relief that it was over! "

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