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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)
- Bookseller Inventory #
- The Italian Teacher
- Tom Rachman
- Book condition
- Used - Near Fine
- Jacket condition
- Near Fine
- Quantity available
- First American Edition
- ISBN 10
- ISBN 13
- 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;
Terms of Sale
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