Not since reading W.
Forget everything you think you know about how a novel is supposed to be written and trust in George Saunders. This book is going to take you on a journey through time, life, and death while also looking at the love between a father and son.
This strange, beautiful novel deserves all the accolades it's been given. Skip to main content. You are here Home. War and Turpentine: A novel Hardcover. Wrestling with this tale, the grandson straddles past and present, searching for a way to understand his own part in both.
With black-and-white illustrations throughout.
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For more than twenty years he was a professor at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Ghent, where he wrote novels, poems, essays, and plays. Translated from the Dutch by David McKay.
Built to last. War and Turpentine is billed as a novel, but that's hardly the word for it.
It's an uncanny work of historical reconstruction. Death, destruction, obligation, duty--Urbain faces them all and yet he still finds joy in life.
It is a book that lies at the crossroads of novel, biography, autobiography and history, with inset essays, meditations, pictures. It is hard to imagine a wiser and more important book at this point of time. Hertmans paints in words, each one carefully weighed, with sublime composition and stylistic ingenuity. The book is especially eloquent and persuasive about the role that art—especially painting but also music and, by extension, narrative—played in Urbain's life and in the life of the grandson who is his visitant and scribe and portraitist.
And Ghent as setting is beautifully portrayed, too. Hertmans provides a richly detailed excavation of a life and a thoughtful exploration of familial memory.
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