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The Italian Teacher by Tom Rachman - First American Edition - March 2018 - from Books of the World (SKU: RWARE0000003158)

The Italian Teacher

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The Italian Teacher

by Tom Rachman

  • Used
  • near fine
  • hardcover
  • First
Near Fine/Near Fine
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About This Item

New York: Viking, March 2018. Hardcover. First American Edition / full number line. Near Fine book in a Near Fine jacket. Interior pristine. Spine straight and tight, ends bumped. Jacket clean and bright. Slight edgewear. Not from a library. No remainder mark. Not clipped. 341 pages. A masterful novel about the son of a great painter striving to create his own legacy.


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On Mar 26 2018, a reader said:
"Pinch doesn't know. But he supposes that this is how culture works: the taste-makers call something important until it becomes so, making themselves important in the process."

The Italian Teacher is the fourth novel by British-born journalist and author, Tom Rachman. Charlie Bavinsky (Pinch to his parents) always seemed to exist in the shadow of his father, renowned mid-twentieth century artist, Bear Bavinsky. Pinch was always trying to measure up, always failing to make the grade. And yet, he became his father's chosen heir.

As a teenager in Rome, Pinch tried to put into practice the one lesson in painting that Bear had given him, but: "To succeed as an artist demands such a rare confluence of personality, of talent, of luck – all bundled into a single lifespan. What a person Dad was! Pinch decides that perhaps he himself had ability too, but this was insufficient: he lacked the personality. The art world was always beyond him. For the first time, he accepts this."

Bear Bavinsky was larger-than-life; arrogant but oh so charismatic. Pinch's mother, Natalie was Bear's third wife of many, wives and lovers alike: "When a woman sits for Bear, Pinch knows, it's nearly a sexual act and often leads to one." Bear's many children all experienced the same neglect and longing for attention during childhood. Despite this, and failing personally at art, Pinch vows to produce a Bear biography that lauds the man and his work, that exalts his memory.

While he never writes it, ending up as a poorly paid Italian teacher in London, he does manage to secretly do something about his father's work that has his half-sister telling him: "'When you see what he accomplished, what he left behind,' Birdie continues, 'maybe he was right how he acted. Would it be better if he'd shown up for softball games, only to die without doing what he knew, knew, would be so great? It's bigger than us. Bigger than us, Charlie… Oh, Daddy! The art was so much better than the man.'"

This is a story that meanders along Pinch's life, following this frustrating and often seemingly hopeless character along his lacklustre path, watching as he seizes mediocrity from the jaws of even mild achievement. This is likely to have readers wondering where it's all going, and some patience is definitely required as Rachman creates the circumstance and the mindset for the final scene. And that final scene has an exquisite twist, thus generously rewarding that patience.

Rachman's characters are a little quirky; his settings (Rome, Toronto, the Pyrenees, London) are well rendered. Rachman's University experience in Toronto, his time as an AP correspondent in Rome and his knowledge of London are apparent in the story, which also highlights the insincerity and pretentiousness of the art world. This is a moving tale contained within an utterly gorgeous cover.


Books of the World US (US)
Bookseller Inventory #
The Italian Teacher
Tom Rachman
Book condition
Used - Near Fine
Jacket condition
Near Fine
Quantity available
First American Edition
Place of Publication
New York
Date published
March 2018
fiction, literature, contemporary, family life, women, Rome, Italy, Europe
Bookseller catalogs
Fiction; Europe; Domestic and Family Fiction;

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About the Seller

Books of the World

Seller rating:
This seller has earned a 5 of 5 Stars rating from Biblio customers. member since: 2017
Arlington, Virginia
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About Books of the World

Selling books from around the world. I am not a professional bookseller. Rather, I am finding new homes for the library I have collected over five decades.


Some terminology that may be used in this description includes:

The outer portion of a book which covers the actual binding. The spine usually faces outward when a book is placed on a shelf....[more]
Used to mean that the binding of a book has not been overly loosened by frequent use.
Sometimes used as another term for dust jacket, a protective and often decorative wrapper, usually made of paper which wraps...[more]
A book in fine condition exhibits no flaws. A fine condition book closely approaches As New condition, but may lack the...[more]
remainder mark
Usually an ink marking of some sort which indicates that the book was designated a remainder. In most cases, it can be found on...[more]
number line
A series of numbers appearing on the copyright page of a book, where the lowest number generally indicates the printing of that...[more]

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