Voleva che si capisse bene quello che stava per dire. Non si fermi alla luce, pensi a tutto il resto, pensi a una storia. Gli accadde, ad esempio, di trovarsi davanti a un artigiano che faceva lampadine. Non lampade: lampadine.

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Art, if only you were able to portray character and soul, no painting on earth would be more beautiful. Gwyn as one of their favourite contemporary novels. A magazine even started an interview format referring to the list Bariccos protagonist - Mr.

Jasper Gwyn, a celebrated novelist publishes in the Guardian, a list of 52 things hell never do again Art, if only you were able to portray character and soul, no painting on earth would be more beautiful. Jasper Gwyn desires to vanish from the literary circus and says goodbye to his wide audience. Talking and touch is dissuaded. After 30 days Gwyn hands them their exclusive reads, their written portraits, invariably deeply moving, amazing and delighting his clients— a intimate exchange between Gwyn and the client, as the reader is cautiously kept outside of this blissful and delicate relationship, not getting to read one single of these portraits in the novel.

Baricco leaves it to the imagination of the reader to wonder what the client sees reflected in the meticulously enwrapped few sheets of paper he or she receives. While Jasper Gwyn stays elusive and enigmatic as a character — no self-portrait is included in the assortment of 10 portraits he will write and he even seems to efface himself gradually from the novel - the reader gets more acquainted with a few of his portrayed subjects, predominantly with his assistant Rebecca with whom he starts his verbal experiment and his ex-literary agent.

Out of the portraits, each of which Gwyn keeps one copy, Baricco creates mystery and an ingeniously constructed literary quest, playing narrative games with his characters and the dumbfounded reader.

We are all a few pages of a book, but of a book that no one has ever written and that we search for in vain in the bookshelves of our mind. Notable is Mr. Visiting an art gallery, Mr. You have to imagine it. Gwyn aspires his literary portraits to surpass the inadequacy of visual portraits, suggesting the written word is a better medium than paint or photography to capture the inner essence, the soul and the character of a person. This insight, coming from a novelist, might not come across as overly surprising.

What are characters drawn in novels often other than multidimensional written portraits? We stop at the idea of being a character engaged in who knows what adventure, even a very simple one, but what we have to understand is that we are the whole story, not just that character.

We are the wood where he walks, the bad guy who cheats him, the mess around him, all the people who pass, the color of things, the sounds. Gwyn reads like a dreamy fairy-tale on identity, perception, choice and on the im possibility to re-invent oneself, a philosophical journey to the essence of writing, set in a light and humorous tone, meditating on questions like how deep we really can get through another human being and to ourselves, and if radical change can also divulge in what more appears like modulations or ripples in an immutable substance.

Like in Silk, Baricco by his smooth and breezy prose creates an atmospheric, alluring music of suggestion and imagination. Reflecting on the essence of reading and writing and both the distance and the complicity in the unique relationship between an author and a reader, Mr.

Gwyn might be a compelling and charming read for anyone fascinated by the world of books and writing. Raphael, Portrait of a Young Woman La fornarina , Call me peevish, but it bothered me that Baricco, ostensibly in order to expel any physical attraction between Mr. Gwyn and is connected to it.


Mr Gwyn (Alessandro Baricco)

Gwyn and Three Times at Dawn. A knockoff, not a veritable antique. Gwyn is the kind of wonderful discovery for which book critics wade through stacks of volumes. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge and remind and warn you that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure. Disappointing that neither Baricco nor any editor along the way picked up on that. As it turns out, however, he soon finds he rather misses it.


Alessandro Baricco – Mr. Gwyn


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