Monday, October 08, 2007

The Painter of Battles - Arturo Pérez-Reverte

James Urquhart reviews Arturo Pérez-Reverte's The Painter of Battles.
With murderous intent, Croatian veteran Ivo Markovic tracks down former war photographer Andres Faulques to a derelict coastal tower. Inside, Faulques is trying to capture in a mural the true meaning of humanity that had always eluded his camera. Markovic’s life had been shattered because of appearing in a famous picture by Faulques of terrified, retreating Croatians – but he had also witnessed Faulques photographing the mangled corpse of his colleague and lover, Olvido Ferrara.

Perez-Reverte, himself a former war correspondent, makes a heroic stab at anatomising artistic responsibility in the grudging rapport between Faulques and Markovic. But their aesthetic ruminations smother the more exciting story of Faulques’s truncated affair.

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