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The Painter of Battles

3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  1,961 ratings  ·  256 reviews
Andrés Faulques, a world-renowned war photographer, has retreated to a tower overlooking the Spanish coast, where he paints a vast mural incorporating the indelible images of conflict he’s witnessed in his lifetime.

One night, an unexpected visitor interrupts his solitude. As Faulques struggles to recall the face, the man explains that he was the subject of an iconic photo
Paperback, 224 pages
Published March 10th 2009 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published 2006)
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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
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
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
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
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
Ally Armistead
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
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
-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:

Natalie  Foster
Aug 17, 2008 Natalie Foster rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
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 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
"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
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
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
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
Fco. V. Salvador
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

An internationally-known war photographer has hung up his camera and retired as a hermit to an abandoned structure near Barcelona where he is painting the entire interior with a battle scene. It is a battle scene that transcends time, partly re-creating famous battle paintings from ancient historical ones to Guernica. His work is interrupted by a visitor, a former soldier that the photographer captured on film in Croatia and made famous. The soldier and his wife were of different ethnic groups i
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
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).
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.
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 .
A photograph taken during war brings the subject, Ivo Markovic, to confront the photographer, Andrés Faulques, in a tower in a small town on the Spanish coast. Ivo thinks he wants revenge for the photograph that destroyed his life, but finds philosophical discussions on life, war and humanity, nature and symmetry. Foggy story, rather dark and pessimistic on the nature of man to commit acts of cruelty and destruction on fellow humans. The camera is a passive accomplice to human suffering, as perh ...more
Jim Bartlett
A thought provoking ,deeply disturbing story on the trauma and evil of war and the underlying predominantly evil nature of humanity. It is less a story but a psychological probe into the inherent animal nature of man when reduced to the level of survival. The author seemingly reveals his darker side which is sometimes hinted at in the swashbuckling anti hero Alatriste series. Not a feel good story told through the eyes,lens and paint brushes of a long traumatised war photographer. There are few ...more
A haunting novel that deals with war, echoes of love and the depth of human cruelty.
Jennifer D
i am still mulling things over in my head...and also wishing we could give stars here on GR because i am feeling in-between on this one and would feel better with it at a 2 -star rating. :/

this is a very philosophical novel, and it had a lot of potential. in the end, though, it felt heavy-handed and not very elegant in its delivery. i found this review from the guardian (2007), which seems to reflect many of the same things i was thinking about and feeling while reading the novel. (except the r
Lucy *Qhuay's shellan*

In a tower by the Mediterranean, Andrés Faulques, a former war photographer, paints a circular fresco - the immortal image of a battle - searching for that image he was never able to capture with his cameras.

Already tormented by his own thoughts, he is disturbed anew by the memory of the woman he was never able to forget and a mysterious man, who comes from his past, seeking retribution.

Having once made a living out of war, Faulques took, years before, a picture of this man, a former Croat soldi
“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
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The Painter of Battles: A Novel, by Arturo Pérez-Reverte 1 9 Jan 13, 2014 07:43PM  
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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 I>Pueblo/I>. 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', f ...more
More about Arturo Pérez-Reverte...
The Club Dumas The Flanders Panel Captain Alatriste (Adventures of Captain Alatriste, #1) The Queen of the South The Fencing Master

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“Nadie debería irse sin dejar una Troya ardiendo a sus espaldas.” 14 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.” 5 likes
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