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The Painter of Battles

3.62  ·  Rating Details ·  2,411 Ratings  ·  288 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)
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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, respo ...more
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
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
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
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 aut ...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." Wa ...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 th ...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 di ...more
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
-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:

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
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 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 two- ...more
Apr 21, 2016 Custodieva rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Из тех книг, которые хочется рисовать.
Интересна в особенности фотографам и искусствоведам.
Переводчика и редактора повесить бы. Хотя бы за "лессировка гризайлью"
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.
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 provid ...more
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.
Sep 23, 2015 Randy rated it it was ok
Although this is one of my favorite authors, I slogged through this one.
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
Ευθυμία Δεσποτάκη
Για χρόνια ο Ρεβέρτε ανήκε στους συγγραφείς που αγαπούσα πολύ, χωρίς λόγους, απλά και μόνο γιατί τα βιβλία του μπορούσα να τα διαβάζω κατανοώντας τα διαισθητικά. Μετά τον Λοχαγό Αλατρίστε τον είχα παρατήσει, γιατί είναι μακράν το πιο βαρετό βιβλίο που έχει γράψει. Το αμέσως λιγότερο βαρετό ήτα ο Ναυτικός Χάρτης, που είχε το ελάττωμα να απλώνεται σε 400 σέλίδες, οπότε και τον παράτησα. Με τις 200 του Αλατρίστε είχα τη τεμπελιά να μη το παρατήσω καν.

Πάντως ο Ζωγράφος των Μαχών γυρίζει στα γνωστά
Fco. Salvador
Jun 08, 2015 Fco. Salvador rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pérez-reverte
Una obra con una cantidad de acción prácticamente nula, pero cuya trama es particularmente intensa. Todas las escenas son o bien diálogos entre los dos protagonistas, o bien recuerdos de uno de ellos. Faulques, fotógrafo de guerra, ha decidido «colgar la cámara» y se dedica a pintar un mural que ocupa todo el interior del torreón donde reside. Ivo Markovic, soldado en Yugoslavia y cuyo rostro le valió a Faulques premios y reconocimiento, le visita en su torreón y le anuncia que va a matarlo. Ent ...more
interesting philosophy of art and war. a modern war photographer gives up his world traveling and moves to an island off costa brava into an old pirate lookout tower and is in the process of painting a huge mural in the round, of the battle of battles, his summation of all he has seen, made money off of, thought about, from yuogslavia to romania, chad, congo, lebanon, somalia, and all he has dedicated his life to thinking about.
and then, a croat soldier he snapped a pic of (and sold to lots of n
Aug 23, 2015 Margarida rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A semelhança entre este romance e os outros que já li de APR centra-se na excelência da narrativa, na rigorosa pesquisa, numa grande personagem feminina, no conhaque, no mar. Mas esta história é muito diferente das outras. Um ex-fotógrafo de guerra decide pintar um mural circular numa velha torre junto ao mar. Circular como a lente de uma máquina fotográfica, o mural é preenchido aos poucos com imagens de batalhas, antigas e modernas, metafóricas e semelhantes à realidade. Traduzirá o caos, o ho ...more
mentre lo leggevo ho chiesto a danilo della guerra. ho capito subito che non la ricordava volentieri. ogni guerra è brutta, dice per tagliare corto, ed è una sconfitta. gli ho chiesto il motivo, mi ha risposto io non ti posso dire perché un uomo sceglie di prendere in mano un fucile.
non c'è molta differenza dallo scegliere di prendere in mano una macchina fotografica, e andare a fotografare la guerra. il fotografo, il soldato e il cacciatore si muovono allo stesso modo. e influiscono su quello c
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).
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.
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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
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“Nadie debería irse sin dejar una Troya ardiendo a sus espaldas.” 16 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
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