Se da cuenta de la banalidad que lo rodea y se pregunta sobre el sentido de su arte, de sus relaciones personales, de su propia vida sin historia. Reino Unido: Carcanet Trad. The story is told by H, a second-rate artist commissioned by a wealthy client to paint a family portrait. As he works, he reflects on his struggleto survive in a bourgeois world obsessed with status and affluence. His portrait focuses animosity, his sitters are left uncomfortably exposed. Back in Portugal, H is embroiled in political fear and mistrust when a friend is arrested by the secret police.

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A quiet triumph. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge and remind and warn you that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure. He is nearly fifty, and refers to himself as: "a simple H. But it turns out he has a lot more to say about himself.

I insist with even greater reason, as someone in its pursuit, that everything is autobiography autobiography? The novel begins with him painting a portrait of a corporate executive. The picture he paints is typical of his portraits, and what the client expects, but he also works on a second portrait, an attempt to move beyond his usual just-going-through-the-motions. It remains beyond him, however, and eventually: Using a spray gun, I covered the second portrait with black paint.

I banished the colors of error and false gestures which put them there into a superficial but eternal night. Covered in black paint, the canvas is still mounted on the easel and consigned to the shadows of the storeroom, like a blind man fumbling in the dark to retrieve the black hat he removed an hour ago.

I can visualize the canvas from here, invisible, black over black, fettered to the skeleton of the easel like a condemned man to the gallows. The man H. He calls him just S. If not quite an everyman, S. He admits to and worries about his own complicity, and the focus on stifled creativity -- and on copying over creating -- is one manifestation of what this culture and country have come to.

The brief final chapter begins with the coup of -- "The regime has fallen" -- and the hope that comes with it. In working on the two portraits of S. He understands: By resorting to writing I knew that I was simply turning my back on a problem: I was not ignoring it, I knew it was just as daunting, but it was as if the novelty of the instrument everything for me had to be real invention and not merely an imitation of earlier experiences was sufficient in itself to bring me closer to my objective.

He approaches writing as one might painting, and Manual of Painting and Calligraphy is fascinating in how it functions as an apprentice work, H. Similarly, he examines the approaches to writing -- noting, for example, that: "Writing in the first person is an advantage, but it is also akin to amputation" and describing why.

The novel is not a manual, but it is like the notebooks of an artist trying to figure out his craft. Comparing it to painting, H. Manual of Painting and Calligraphy is far from a purely theoretical novel.

There are H. It makes for a fascinating experimental work -- an artist getting the feel for what can be done in writing. Yes, it feels very much like an apprentice-work, in every respect -- but it is an apprentice-work by a master. Orthofer, 6 July


Manual De Pintura Y Caligrafia



José Saramago



Manual de pintura y caligrafía, de José Saramago



Manual de Pintura y Caligrafía


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