Wednesday, October 05, 2005

My first American review

This appears in this week's Publishers Weekly.
I guess they wanted more daubs of paint.


This odd bird of a lucidly written biographical novel about 20th-century American painter Rockwell Kent is not about art. Other than the titles of a few paintings, and the studio where he retreats to escape his family and the world, there is little discussion of Kent’s work. Instead, this is the story of Kent and his family’s sojourn in Brigus, Newfoundland, where they flee the inquiring eyes of New York for some rural peace. But rather than affording privacy, the small town greets him first with fascination, then scorn, and then, with the arrival of WWI—and the socialist painter’s lack of patriotic zeal—unfounded fear. Winter expertly outlines his protagonist’s psychological nuances, but offers minimal indication of what Kent’s art means to him or the role it plays in his life. The author (Creaking in Their Skins) is on steadier ground with dialogue, which is uniformly trenchant and humorous. Kent’s discussions with his friend and mentor, Gerald, take on the glow of a modern Socratic dialogue or an intellectual improv routine, and Kent’s wife, Kathleen, comes vividly to life. Winter gives us a flesh-and-blood Rockwell Kent the man, but does not do the same for Kent the artist.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The first line says it all; the reviewer was hoping for a pigeon of a book. I thought there were plenty of daubs & dabs in your brushwork.

11:21 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

are you really a newf?

3:39 a.m.  
Blogger katie said...

funny, too, that he would reference 'creaking in their skins' and not either of the others.
write more.

8:39 p.m.  

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