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Portret van een dode man
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Portret van een dode man

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  1,082 ratings  ·  189 reviews
Italië in de vroege jaren zestig. Een schilder die aan het einde van zijn leven is gekomen, denkt aan de opofferingen en verliezen die hem tot de ontoegankelijke en mysterieuze man hebben gemaakt die hij voor de buitenwereld is. Hij schildert de objecten die hem gedurende zijn hele actieve carrière obsedeerden: een groepje flessen.
Een blind meisje verzorgt niet lang daarna
Paperback, 321 pages
Published March 2010 by Anthos (first published June 4th 2009)
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Average rating 3.58  · 
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 ·  1,082 ratings  ·  189 reviews

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Kirsty Darbyshire
Dec 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: paperback

I loved this. The writing is fabulous - full of sentences that make you sit back and marvel at their ingenuity and the images that they conjure up.

The chapters of the book flip between four different viewpoints. Each is set in a different place and time stays tightly with a single character and each is very individually written with no chance of a reader muddling up the writing - the headings announcing which character was in this chapter were totally superfluous. The distinctive voices were in

switterbug (Betsey)
An art curator wracked with grief over the tragic death of her twin brother; an aged, dying artist of still-life bottle art; a landscape artist; and a blind florist tell their inter-connected stories in alternating chapters of this stunning, imaginative novel. Spanning several generations in Italy and the U.S. (primarily rural Florence and San Francisco), the reader is taken on a journey of ideas and transported to the inner chambers of the heart. The story contemplates the nucleus of art, the e ...more
Oct 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a beautifully written book. The language thrilled me, frankly, and I'm sad it's over (fortunately the author has written other books). Hall's intertwining of 4 separate stories that take place at different moments in time yet are interactive was a delight to read.

Despite the melancholic to sadness of the book, it made me want to head outside and walk in the park, in the woods, past the neighborhood school and hear the life bubbling out from the young kids gamboling there. A desire to go
Before picking up Sarah Hall's How to Paint a Dead Man, which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 2009, I was only familiar with her short stories.  She is an author whom I have heard an awful lot of praise for, although I must admit that I was rather disappointed by her collection The Beautiful Indifference.  I am thrilled that I received a copy of How to Paint a Dead Man as a gift, however, as it proved to be one of the most beautiful novels which I had read in a long time.

Kathleen Maher
Sep 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers who love fiction as art and do not demand a high-action plot.
Recommended to Kathleen by: Ed Champion
Sarah Hall writes about four characters in this novel; each with her or his own section and voice. Some of them are related but their relation scarcely affects the differing narratives. The writing is lush throughout; the pace and thin plot-lines real to life; the construction a classic four-frame, one per character, with alternating narratives.
The writer's remarkably fine style fits and evokes the art of still-life painting to reveal each character's life. And their differing stories all focus
Robert Wechsler
Jun 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british-lit
Lots of novels these days are told in chapters that alternate between/among two or more narrator-protagonists. This one takes a different approach: four alternating protagonists with different POVs: one first person, two third person, and one second person (directed to that chapter’s protagonist). All of them work, even the second person chapters. And although the protagonists do have some relationship with the others (directly or indirectly, with one father and daughter), the relationships don’ ...more
Bonnie Brody
Feb 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes one is privileged to read a book that is so brilliant we hope it never ends. Such is the case with 'How to Paint a Dead Man' by Sarah Hall. This is Ms. Hall's fourth book. Her second book, 'The Electric Michelangelo', was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize.

This is a book about art and artists, about life and grief. It is about "how we investigate our existence and make meaning and teach one another in small and large ways". The book is like a chorale woven of four parts, each part a
Oct 13, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading this book, I am sticking to a new reading philosophy. Read at least 100 pages of a book before I decide to drop it. Starting off, I found this one quite confusing. 4 different narrators, who don't seem to be connected at all. Some in the past, some present, different narratative techniques (third, first, etc). I just couldnt keep track and really thought this was just a book too deep for me! I'm happy to report that at about page 80, everything clicked. It is beautifully written an ...more
Jan 06, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had liked "Wolf Border" very much, although I agree with other readers that the plot lines were a bit false here and there. And, since I am a painter, I thought I might really like this book, which involves painting and art history and also has the good sense to have a set of wonderful locations. At a point roughly halfway through the book, I began to wonder why these four tales were interrupted and then sewn back together. Was there anything to be gained by telling four stories that, on a cas ...more
Sep 25, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A clever concept novel in linking what seems like four disparate characters together in the story that gradually unfolds through four separate narrative strands and across two eras and countries: England and Italy, the novel deals with the eternal themes of love, loss, life and art.
However, I found that I couldn't like the grief stricken and destructive main female character (whose name escapes me) but that didn't matter as the other three were warmer and had more interesting back stories.
Just superb; have a full review on FBC, while a minireview here:

After learning about How to Paint a Dead Man in the Booker Longlist, its cover and blurb attracted me so I bought it on publication day here in the US last week and I read it soon after, this being a novel that once you immerse in you cannot leave and read anything else, at least fiction, once it ends you are sad that it did so and want more, so you have to reread it at least once...

"How to Paint a Dead Man" is a deceptively short n
Maya Panika
May 22, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an unusual book. Four individual stories told chapter by chapter, each chapter – not each story - following from the next. For forty pages, I thought it was unbearably pretentious but then the story within the stories began to unfold – you begin to see the tenuous threads that connect one to another. These threads are very slight, sometimes just a single word or sentence within the whole story that suddenly clues you in to why X connects to Y and informs and influences Z.

The style is ver
Kasa Cotugno
Aug 06, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: loc-europe-uk
There are four disparate strands to this muscular rope of a book, apart at the beginning but ultimately woven together to create a story that promotes the importance of art in life. Each strand is set in a different time, written in a different style, the author challenging the reader to make the connections and draw their own conclusions. There is Suze's story, told in the second person, which is the most compelling, seemingly the centerpiece of the narrative. The story of her father, Peter, is ...more
Something about this just didn’t land with me. I didn’t quite connect with the characters or the prose. I wouldn’t dissuade anyone from reading this, and I’ll read more Sarah Hall, but for whatever reason, this just didn’t do it for me.

Technically, I think this was well done. The four voices with their interconnected stories are distinct, and written in first, second and third person. Second person can be tiresome, but here I thought it was just right for a grieving twin, slowly ripping apart. I
Victoria (Eve's Alexandria)
As good as I remember from my first reading and in parts much much better. I don't think it's a perfect book, but I feel as though Sarah Hall has the capacity to produce a more perfect book and will some day. There are moments of such visionary beauty in her prose; I was transfixed and cried at the end for the second time. I can't wait to discuss it with my book group. They dislike this at their peril. We shall be discussing surrounded by the still life paintings of nineteenth century York artis ...more
Oct 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I tried to hate this book. It started out slowly; the plot lines were confusing. By the end, I loved it. It's a strange book. But it infused itself into me. I noticed this especially throughout Annette's story. By the end of her sections, I was seeing the world with her disrupted and dying eyesight. This book is so well-written. Needs to be read again. The connections between characters take time, but are perfectly rendered.
Nov 08, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ultimately just too allusive and overwritten -- a huge disappointment after Daughters of the North. The Italian scenes especially seemed trite, overly mystified, and just didn't ring true. The English characters were much stronger, but she left you wanting more ... with less writerly flourishes.
Mar 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
This book was so sharply sad that I had to read it in little bursts for fear it might overwhelm me. Like having a stitch, and not quite being able to breathe deeply for the pain. Flawless prose, with a haunting understanding of the human heart.
Feb 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Cait, Miss GP, Heather
Recommended to JenniferD by: June
Shelves: owned, 2012-books
Hall is bold and brave in her storytelling. It seems nothing is off-limits. Some moments might make you squirm in your seat with as raw emotions, feelings and actions are explored and acted upon.
Aug 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: here, y2017
beautiful. ending(s) a little bit too neat for my taste, but otherwise a wonderful read.
Tracy Smyth
Did not enjoy this book at all
Aug 28, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
I participated in a roundtable on this book at Return of the Relucntant:

Here was my take in the conversation:

I waited until this morning, until I turned the final page in How to Paint a Dead Man, to take in your perspectives on the novel. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on it, especially because in many ways they seem to differ from mine. For example, I seem to be unusual in that I very much enjoyed Sarah Hall’s book, without qualification.

Here’s why.
Jun 16, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had a hard time getting into the 4 different perspectives here since we don't spend a lot of pages with any of them in the beginning, at least, and I didn't really feel connected to anyone's "voice" but Peter's.
Aug 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I struggled with the last two books I read, so I really needed a book that would absorb me. Scanning the shelf of "waiting to be read" books I saw this. The author's name looked familiar and when I realised she had written The Electric Michaelangelo I thought this was a good bet.

I was completely absorbed, read it over the Bank Holiday weekend and it has left me with lots to think about.

It brings together four different stories over a period of about 40 years, all involving artists in one way of
Emily Simpson
This novel bummed me out. Having recently read Hall's amazing new story collection and hearing great things from friends about her longer works, I was prepared to find another treasure in How to Paint a Dead Man. Where her sweeping, uniform passages work well in short form, I began to really find them daunting about midway through Dead Man. The novel offers first, second, and close third perspectives on four interconnected characters' lives. Though Hall's fantastic facility with naturalism and k ...more
Nov 04, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this because it's about art and was highly recommended by Nina Sankovitch

Four characters whose lives interconnect relate their stories in four separate voices. An elderly artist in Italy, a young blind girl, also in Italy, a landscape artist in England, and an art curator in England who is mourning the death of her twin brother. The stories are very moving and there is some majestic prose.

But the novel lost power for me in the scattershot jumping around between
I really enjoyed ... or is that appreciated ... this book. The interweaving of the lives of four people associated with painting over two countries and several decades is achieved very cleverly with some wonderful description. I especially loved the part where Susan discovered her twin brother had been killed: the evocation of grief has rarely been done better. I also liked the chapters about Annette whose coming to terms with blindness was also described vividly and convincingly [though I was l ...more
Cornelius Browne
May 15, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Visual artists in fiction rarely convince, so, for bravery alone, I was applauding Sarah Hall from the outset. How To Paint A Dead Man comprises four loosely connected stories, each featuring a different artist as protagonist, one clearly modelled on Giorgio Morandi. Hall writes from deep inside her character's psyches, the prose full-blooded yet pensive, her subject the powers and pains of the creative process. Distinct voices narrate each section, and a timescale of half a century is covered, ...more
Sep 12, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Having read The Electric Michelangelo, and falling utterly in love with Sarah Hall's style, I have been waiting unpatiently for this book to be returend to the library. I got the book yesterday, but didn't have time to read more than the first chapter - and now I can't wait to get home and continue it. So far - very good!
Now, more than a month later, I have temporarily given up on this book. I never made it past the first 50 pages, feeling bored and somewhat disappointed. I'll probably giv
I am not alone in thinking that although the writing was "painterly" and very beautiful this book had too many flaws for our book group to give it more than three stars. This is the average as some wanted to give it 2.5 and one (she who nominated the book 3.5). Yes the writing was evocative and painted vignettes however the structure of the book, became to confusing and at times feeling contrived with the links between stories. The biggest disappointment or flaw was the ending, it left me strand ...more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Sarah Hall took a degree in English and Art History at Aberystwyth University, and began to take writing seriously from the age of twenty, first as a poet, several of her poems appearing in poetry magazines, then as a fiction-writer. She took an M Litt in Creative Writing at St Andrew's University and stayed on

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