Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Painter of Battles” as Want to Read:
The Painter of Battles
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Painter of Battles

3.62  ·  Rating Details ·  2,439 Ratings  ·  290 Reviews
The internationally bestselling author of The Club Dumas and The Queen of the South delivers his most ambitious and profoundly affecting novel to date--a tale that, more than ever, confirms his ability as a writer of extraordinary literary power.
Hardcover, 211 pages
Published January 8th 2008 by Random House (first published 2006)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz ZafónDon Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes SaavedraEl juego del ángel by Carlos Ruiz ZafónFor Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest HemingwayCathedral of the sea by Ildefonso Falcones
39th out of 218 books — 191 voters
Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy ChevalierThe Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar WildeThe Da Vinci Code by Dan BrownThe Birth of Venus by Sarah DunantGirl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland
Art & Artists in Fiction
196th out of 566 books — 885 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Sep 08, 2011 Louize rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Originally written here.


After Isaac Newton laid his 3rd law of motion, almost every branch of science agreed with him. I suppose, even religion does. “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” It is the fundamental symmetry of the universe. Our every action draws an imaginary path, an effect. Sometimes even a small change may result to a large difference.

Andrés Faulques, a war photographer by profession, decided to leave his famous life and secluded himself in a tower
Aug 08, 2012 Biogeek rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A novel that may have been better as a short story. The premise, and some of the dialog in the first and last 50 pages, were intriguing. A retired and reclusive war photographer is visited by a Croat he once photographed retreating from a battle. That one photo, an award-winning one, had unexpected, and tragic, repercussions in the subject's life, and now he wants to kill the photographer. But not before the two engage in pages and pages of discussions about art, war, cruelty, death, love, ...more
Jan 05, 2009 Brooke rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2009, general-fiction
I was wary coming into this one after having given up on the last Pérez-Reverte book I tried. This wariness was a little uncalled for, since I had immensely enjoyed three others he wrote, but in the end it was justified. I went back and forth between being intrigued and downright bored, and quite truthfully only the slim 200-page count convinced me to see it through.

The main character, Faulques, is a former war photographer who has retired to an old tower to paint a mural of battles, an attempt
Jul 15, 2008 Sandie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary-lit
The Painter of Battles is a beautifully written word picture encompassing everything from "the Butterfly effect", to art history lessons, to a morality homily on the futility of war and the evil that man bestows on his fellow man.

Perez-Reverte draws you into the story as he meticulously recounts (probably from his own experiences as a war journalist) example after example of the insanity of war and examines the cruelty and finality of its outcome. In essence, Perez-Reverte gives us and in depth
Παύλος Amadeus
Ειναι το δεύτερο βιβλιο του Ρεβερτε που διάβασα. Το πρώτο ήταν η λέσχη Δούμας ή η σκιά του Ρισελιέ το οποίο με είχε εντυπωσιάσει τόσο πολυ που εδώ και τρία χρονια το μισό αριστερό μου χέρι έχει ζωγραφιστεί με πίνακες του βιβλιου.

Δυστυχώς δε με ενθουσίασε τόσο ο ζωγράφος των μαχών. Καλή και έξυπνη ιστορία με πολλές προεκτάσεις αλλά με αρκετή φλυαρία. Η βασική ιδέα συνοψίζεται στα εκεί ακόλουθα:

Ο Φοουλκες ειναι ένας 50αρης πρώην φωτογράφος και νυν ζωγράφος απομονωμένος σε ένα Πύργο στη Μεσόγειο
Este libro me ha gustado en cierta manera y me ha cansado en otra. Se reconoce bastante al autor en el personaje de Faulques, y me parece interesante la introspección del personaje sobre el tema de la guerra y los horrores de la condición humana, especialmente en la confrontación con Ivo... pero Reverte me parece penosamente pedante en otros momentos, pretendiendo tener la verdad absoluta sobre el mundo y los hilos ocultos que lo mueven... no niego que seguramente, tanto el personaje como el ...more
Natalie  Foster
Aug 17, 2008 Natalie Foster rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: liberals, conservatives, pacificsts, war-mongers, painters, photographers, tour guides
Recommended to Natalie by: other books by the same author
Commenting on a book one has read in translation is a bit dicey. Whose language am I praising? Even in translation, however, it is clear Perez-Reverte is a gifted teller-of-tales and creator of character, of mood, and of story. "The Flanders Panel" was the first of his books I read and I have been hooked ever since. If you haven't read that, run -- do not walk -- to your favorite independent bookseller and hope they have it on the shelf as well as this one. Now -- to "The Painter of Battles." ...more
Ally Armistead
Sep 02, 2010 Ally Armistead rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Four out of five stars for "The Painter of Battles"--dark, beautiful, dense, intellectual. The story follows the odd final days of a retired war photographer, who has retreated into a watchtower in Italy to paint a ghastly war-themed mural and is encountered by a Croatian soldier he photographed years before.

Angry and grief-stricken at the loss of his wife and child, the Croatian solider--who holds the photographer's portrait of him accountable for their deaths--intends to kill him, exact reven
Sep 20, 2009 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Arturo Perez-Reverte’s The Painter of Battles is a compelling story of self-reflection, loss and suspense overlaid with a well-researched discussion of the history of images. If I were not already an art historian, this book may have inspired me to become one with its offering of romanticism and sentimentality that such a thought would once have entailed for me in my youth. But, of course, if I were not an art historian its many art historical references may have been too opaque to illuminate ...more
Mar 11, 2009 Christan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Perez-Reverte is one of my favorite contemporary authors. This book has moments of brilliant and beautifully insightful writing. Mirroring the main character's obsession with a painting depicting the horrors of warfare, Perez-Reverte uses his words and images to give brushstrokes of meaning. The overall effect leaves the reader somewhat haunted by the seeming meaninglessness of human existence. This was a difficult and interesting book of ideas that struck the same note many times in slightly ...more
Joyce Lagow
Apr 20, 2010 Joyce Lagow rated it it was amazing
One of the many reasons why I love Perez-Reverte's books is that they follow no set formula or pattern except that they are all off-beat in their own way. But this one pushes the envelope, I think and in the end, after recovering from what is a very, very dark view of human nature, I think it is among his best, if not the best.[return][return]Perez-Reverte, before he took up writing full-time, was a war journalist; the list of those he covered includes Bosnia, Croatia, El Salvador, Lebanon, and ...more
Aug 10, 2011 Tony rated it really liked it
Perez-Reverte, Arturo. THE PAINTER OF BATTLES. (2006; Eng. trans. 2008). ****.
This is an author that must be read. His early novels, including “The Club Dumas,” “The Flanders Panel,” and “The Seville Communion” were historical crime novels (if they can be classified at all) that were unexcelled in their plotting and execution. This novel is very different from his earlier works. It is the story of Sr. Faulques who was a war photographer who retired in order to paint. During his career, he saw a
Disharee Bose
Dec 13, 2015 Disharee Bose rated it liked it
A war photographer has retired to an isolated island off Costa Brava, where he spends his days painting a large mural on the insides of the walls of an old deserted watch tower. The painting is a summation of his experiences, his beliefs, his view of the world and war and art. He has lost the woman he loved and he is no longer a passive artist on battlefields, capturing a moment. Until, a man he had photographed in the past arrives on the island - to kill him.

The plot is fantastic, the writing
Aug 18, 2009 Kirstie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: RORY.
If I could give half ratings, this book would score a 4 1/2 has it's flaws but quite a few passages are quite brilliant.

The basic premise is the life story, looking towards the past, of a famous war photographer. He's isolated and painting a huge battle to rival anything he's seen in real life throughout all of the countries and people he's photographing at war.

But very soon within the first part of the book, he's confronted by a man who was the subject of one of his photos...the man
Aug 03, 2011 Dariana rated it it was amazing
"The Painter of Battles" is the most discouraging, harsh and sad novel that Arturo Perez-Reverte wrote. But it's definitely the most lucid and ambitious.

A four days journey, full of stories about love, death, guilt and violence, with an unexpected end.

In the South of Spain, in a tower on the Mediterranean shore, a former photographer paints an enormous circular fresco: a battle landscape, where he wants to cover all the images he could not capture on his film. To accomplish his goal, he will be
May 12, 2009 Liz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An intense novel for people interested in art. Prize-winner war photographer Faulques retires from his profession to a tower in Spain, where he decides painting a battle mural will be the culmination of his life's work. He believes that painting can be real in ways photography has failed him: in conveying the brutality yet inevitability of human aggression. His plan is disrupted when one of his subjects, a Serbian soldier, shows up unexpectedly to settle a score. The interchange between the ...more
-Los fantasmas de unos son las musas de otros, y viceversa.-

Género. Novela.

Lo que nos cuenta. Un antiguo fotógrafo de guerra retirado llamado Faulques se dedica a pintar un gran mural bélico en una apartada zona junto al mar. Una persona con la que se cruzó dos instantes durante sus tiempos en la Croacia arrasada por la guerra vuelve a su vida y sus pretensiones hacen que Faulques recuerde su pasado (que en realidad jamás ha olvidado).

¿Quiere saber más de este libro, sin spoilers? Visite:

This book is like a one act play in which the main character, previously a war photographer in the Balkans, gives up his career to live in seclusion and paint the inside of the lighthouse in which he lives. However, a man whose life he affected by doing nothing but shooting photographs of the suffering, has decided he will camp out at the painter's home and eventually kill him, to the painter's knowledge. While he is there, he tries to make the painter gain emotional attachments. The book ...more
Aug 06, 2008 Erica rated it liked it
Shelves: 2008
Whew. This was a well-written book but man was it depressing. I don't think I cracked a smile from beginning to end. I'd like to read more of this author though; I hear his other books are more action packed. This was good despite a minimal plot. It was more philosophical and tended to get very deep at times.
Otra "novela de aventuras" de Pérez Reverte. Volvemos a sus personajes descreídos, a su experiencia como reportero bélico... Pero nos cambia el fondo (y no me refiero a la ubicación de la narración): no se trata de buscar ningún tesoro, sino de emprender de la mejor manera otro viaje. Muy buena y sólida (como siempre).
Jun 04, 2016 Jan rated it it was amazing
Brilliantly tightly composed thriller and philosophical treatise in one. War, photography, painting, love all in one intricate concentrated volume that inspires the reader to immediately re-read and study.
Jul 07, 2008 Rowena rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A war photographer retires to a tower on the coast of Spain, where he begins a mural of battles past and present, when he is interrupted by a stranger who wants to kill him. This is a novel of philosophy and art, and an exploration of love .
Apr 17, 2014 Eduardo rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recuerdo que solamente llegué a una tercera parte, más o menos, pero no recuerdo porqué no me enganchó de veras, y dejé de leerla. Tal vez necesito probar de nuevo.
Sep 23, 2015 Randy rated it it was ok
Although this is one of my favorite authors, I slogged through this one.
A haunting novel that deals with war, echoes of love and the depth of human cruelty.
doaa sh
Mar 07, 2016 doaa sh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
آنها من الروايات التي تسحقك وتعيد تشكيلك فلا تعود أبدا كما كنت
Feb 07, 2015 Stephen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
“The more obvious everything is, the less sense it seems to make.”
“There’s no way out then?”
“There are consolations. The prisoner running as they shoot at him believes he’s free . . . “

While traveling to visit my ailing mom, I brought this book along as my only reading companion, fueled by distant memory and the emotions this tremendous novel stirred within me several years ago, bone-deep, while also being at a signpost in my life where the horizon is clearer than ever, where the horse-sense of
Nov 15, 2016 Nevena rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Прочетох повече от една трета от книгата и се отказвам. Не че е толкова лоша, но като знам колко хубави книги ме чакат да ги чета... Много малко действие. Балансът интроспекция – външни събития е тотално объркан. Дълги, нерядко отегчителни диалози, в които се разменят философски мисли. Иначе си личи майсторското перо на автора, доброто проникване в гледната точка на художник и фотограф, обаче като се замисля... Това проникване е по-скоро техническо. Говори за светлини, за цветове, някакви сложни ...more
Sep 21, 2008 Eileen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Philosophical pessimists
Rating: 2.5, because while slow-starting and depressing, it really does make you think.


“Geometry” is a recurring word and concept throughout Arturo Perez-Reverte’s dark novel, THE PAINTER OF BATTLES. His protagonist, Andres Faulques, photo-journalist turned painter, uses it to try and make sense of all the horror he has photographed covering wars. The book is more geometric “proof” or theorem than story, and is a difficult read, both for the complexity of Faulques’
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
The Painter of Battles: A Novel, by Arturo Pérez-Reverte 1 9 Jan 13, 2014 07:43PM  
  • In the Night of Time
  • The Buddha's Return
  • Monasterio
  • Capote in Kansas
  • O que diz Molero
  • The Portrait
  • The Fault Line: Traveling the Other Europe, From Finland to Ukraine
  • El 19 de Marzo y el 2 de Mayo
  • The Manga Bible: From Genesis to Revelation
  • Mira si yo te querré
  • How the States Got Their Shapes Too: The People Behind the Borderlines
  • In Red
  • Lo contrario de la muerte
  • Jaime Bunda, Secret Agent: Story of Various Mysteries
  • Η κόκκινη Μασσαλία
  • Luciérnagas
  • The Fellowship: The Untold Story of Frank Lloyd Wright and the Taliesin Fellowship
  • Black Dragon River: A Journey Down the Amur River at the Borderlands of Empires
Spanish novelist and ex-journalist. He worked as a war reporter for twenty-one years (1973 - 1994). He started his journalistic career writing for the now-defunct newspaper Pueblo. Then, he jumped to news reporter for TVE, Spanish national channel. As a war journalist he traveled to several countries, covering many conflicts. He put this experience into his book 'Territorio Comanche', focusing on ...more
More about Arturo Pérez-Reverte...

Share This Book

“Nadie debería irse sin dejar una Troya ardiendo a sus espaldas.” 17 likes
“En un mundo donde el horror se vende como arte, donde el arte nace ya con la pretensión de ser fotografiado, donde convivir con las imágenes del sufrimiento no tiene relación con la conciencia ni con la compasión, las fotos de guerra no sirven para nada.” 6 likes
More quotes…