Rome, 1955The artists are gathering together for a photograph. In one of Rome's historic villas, a party is bright with near-genius, shaded by the socialite patrons of their art. Bear Bavinsky, creator of vast, masculine, meaty canvases, is their god. Larger than life, muscular in both figure and opinion, he blazes at art criticism and burns half his paintings. He is at the centre of the picture. His wife, Natalie, edges out of the shot.From the side of the room watches little Pinch - their son. At five years old he loves Bear almost as much as he fears him. After Bear abandons their family, Pinch will still worship him, striving to live up to the Bavinsky name; while Natalie, a ceramicist, cannot hope to be more than a forgotten muse. Trying to burn brightly under his father's shadow - one of the twentieth century's fiercest and most controversial painters - Pinch's attempts flicker and die. Yet by the end of a career of twists and compromises, Pinch will enact an unexpected rebellion that will leave forever his mark upon the Bear Bavinsky legacy.What makes an artist? In The Italian Teacher, Tom Rachman displays a nuanced understanding of twentieth-century art and its demons, vultures and chimeras. Moreover, in Pinch he achieves a portrait of painful vulnerability and realism: talent made irrelevant by personality. Stripped of egotism, authenticity or genius, Pinch forces us to face the deep held fear of a life lived in vain....
|Title||:||The Italian Teacher|
|Number of Pages||:||336 pages|
|Url Type||:||Home » Download » The Italian Teacher|
The Italian Teacher Reviews
“The Italian Teacher” confirms Rachman’s reputation as a shepherd of lost souls. It tells the story of Pinch, a man whose whole life is overshadowed by his father, the great 20th-century artist Bear Bavinsky. Bear is a fictional character, but Rachman takes scissors and paste to the museum catalogue just as Rachel Kushner did in her wonderful 2013 novel, “The Flamethrowers.” He paints Bear so cleverly into the canon of contemporary art that you may feel like you must have seen one of his still-l ...more
I enjoyed the writing in The Italian Teacher, and appreciated Pinch as a detailed and authentically flawed character, but I couldn’t seem to engage with the story until about the last third of the book.
Nearly his entire life Pinch has pursued approval from the one person who is too self-important to ever grant it -- his father, artist Bear Bavinsky. Though Pinch is ten times the person Bear is, he lives in obscurity, kept there in large part by the man he admires most.
Nonetheless, what Pinch u ...more
An underlying premise of this novel is that personality is just as important as talent in achieving fame. TV perhaps bears this theory out. Pinch, the novel's main protagonist has very little personality. He's completely overshadowed by his artist father, Bear Bavinsky. Bear conforms to just about every popular cliché of the artist - an egotistical womaniser who uses his fidelity to his art as a means of blundering through life like a self-indulgent child without restraints. (I was almost ashame ...more
I have a special affection for books that are about the visual arts, everything from historical fiction about the likes of Georgia O'Keeffe or Edward Degas and Mary Cassatt, and books about the modern art world with fictional artists. This book is in the latter field, and it is one of the better of its kind. It is both a story of art and its creation and promotion. It has a major theme that is akin to the phrase "if a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, etc., etc." Wrapped up in all th ...more
Wow, I can't say I cared for this one at all.
It was such a highly anticipated read too, especially after the love I had for The Rise & Fall of Great Powers, I was expecting the same amount of love to pour out of me for The Italian Teacher. Sadly, that just wasn't the case. The gorgeous cover doesn't match the bland story and unlikeable everyone inside.
Rachman is a marvel. You meet the main character, Pinch, as a child and follow him throughout his life. Pinch’s father, Bear, is a negligent father, drinker and womanizer in addition to being a much admired and successful artist. As Rachman puts it, “But your relatives judge you relatively.” After trying and failing poor Pinch just can’t measure up to his father’s greatness and lives a small life, but he is determined to leave a legacy. How Pinch goes about doing this is brilliant.
Filled with wa ...more
I've read and loved two books by this author and I was disappointed to find that I didn't love this one. I didn't hate it, but it was just ok for me. Bear Bavinsky was a larger than life painter who, for a while, was quite popular. He was also an irresponsible narcissist who had countless wives and girlfriends and 17 children. Bear's appeal to these women (other than his fame) was never made clear to me. The protagonist of this book is his son Pinch (Charles) who was the only child with whom Bea ...more