How to Paint a Dead Man and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
  • List Price: $14.99
  • Save: $2.97 (20%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
How to Paint a Dead Man: ... has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Eligible for Amazon's FREE Super Saver/Prime Shipping, 24/7 Customer Service, and package tracking. 100% Satisfaction Guarantee.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

How to Paint a Dead Man: A Novel Paperback – September 8, 2009


See all 7 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback, September 8, 2009
$12.02
$3.79 $0.01
$12.02 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.


Frequently Bought Together

How to Paint a Dead Man: A Novel + The Electric Michelangelo (P.S.)
Price for both: $20.85

Buy the selected items together

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $2.99 (Save 69%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.


Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 289 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; First Edition edition (September 8, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061430455
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061430459
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,384,474 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Stunning visual descriptions link the stories of four artists in crisis in Hall's fourth novel (after Daughters of the North), but marginal, cross-generational relationships are what ground the book. Giorgio is a well-known painter and hermit in Italy in the 1960s, the near-blind Annette his favorite primary school student. Peter is a 50-something landscape artist in England, and Peter's daughter, Susan, a talented photographer and curator. Giorgio has cancer and for his final days tackles one last painting of his constant subject, colored bottles. Soon after his death, Annette tends his grave, innocent and fearful and now completely blind, fearing imaginary things like the Bestia—a demon that is depicted in her church. Thirty years later, Peter, who corresponded with Giorgio, is pinned under a boulder near his cottage, and contemplates the haunting relationship he had with his ex-wife, while in present-day London, Susan searches for feeling (through sex) after the sudden loss of her twin brother. Hall gracefully conveys a sense of the eternal through these imaginative, disconnected creatures who share the same unrelentingly contemplative disposition. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

“Sarah Hall is a huge talent. Her third novel, How To Paint A Dead Man, is a beautiful, powerful book of love, lust, death, passion, art, desperation and loss. She writes her characters brilliantly.” (Bookseller (London), “Bookseller's Choice, June 2009”)

“Invigorating….her verbal depiction of fictional art never stales…This deeply sensual novel is what you rarely find - an intelligent page-turner which, perversely, you also want to read slowly to savour Hall’s luscious way of looking at the world.” (The Sunday Telegraph)

“Her latest novel, even more than ever, reads as though it was an absolute thrill to write....a maddeningly enticing read...an amazing feat of literary engineering.” (The Independent on Sunday "New Review")

“Daring...Along with contemporaries like Scarlett Thomas and Lydia Millet, Hall is staking new ground for women in the “novel of ideas” category. Full of haunting images and thought-provoking ideas, How to Paint a Dead Man will linger in the mind.” (BookPage)

“In this gorgeous still life of a book, Sarah Hall gives us four lives…each narrated in a different voice…Hall has a poet’s gift, and this novel is best enjoyed as a prose poem whose blindingly beautiful insights gradually accrue…She has made visible to us…the ever-present shadow of eternity.” (Washington Post Book World)

More About the Authors

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

There are no dull moments - the plots interweave intricately in a fascinating book.
Fenimore
The writer's remarkably fine style fits and evokes the art of still-life painting to reveal each character's life.
Kathleen Maher
This is a book to savor, one that is a page-turner and also one that must be read slowly.
Bonnie Brody

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By K. L. Cotugno VINE VOICE on September 17, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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 told through his reflections while he is caught, trapped, overnight on the fells. Both Suze and Peter are artists, active in the art world, and it is Peter's connection to Georgio, an Italian artist, that sets in motion the other two narratives. This book was long listed for the Man Booker award, but didn't make the final cut to the short list. As I haven't been able to read the five that did, I can't make a comparison except to say they must be quite remarkable to have beaten out this seductively readable, highly original work.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Roger Brunyate TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 19, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is inexplicable to me how Harper Perennial, the publishers of this deeply serious novel, could have given it such a frivolous cover! The cartoon drawing of a girl dancing down a hillside with hair flying suggests a carefree romp, not the meditation on loss and perception that Sarah Hall gives us here. And it is certainly no preparation for a novel centered so much in the visual world, in which three of the four principal characters are artists. One of these (though acknowledged only in the front matter) is based on the painter Giorgio Morandi, probably the most fastidious Italian painter of his generation, whose mature work, heedless of contemporary Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism, consisted entirely of paintings of bottles, meticulously arranged in a luminous opalescence.

While Hall's writing about art shows her love for the medium, her real subject is human feeling, and especially the way emotions can be aroused and distorted by the passage of time, the loss of possibilities, the ending of a life. Four protagonists take turns in the spotlight in a repeating sequence of short chapters. There is Giorgio not-quite-Morandi on his hilltop in Italy, working even as his death approaches. There is Peter, a landscape painter of rocks and mountains in the Northwest of England near the Scottish Border. There is Susan, a successful photographer in London, shocked by the death of her fraternal twin brother. And there is Annette Tambroni, an Italian teenager whose own sense of vision turns inward as she goes inexorably blind.

At first this is all you know. You have no idea why the author chose these four people and not others. You have only a dim sense of the time-frame.
Read more ›
12 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jill I. Shtulman TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 5, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The title of this masterful work of art is taken from Cennino d'Andrea Cennini and as one of the characters reflects: "Sadly, the master craftsman is unable to instruct us in the healing of wounds."

For all of the characters in this book are wounded -- some figuratively, some literally. There is the famous Italian painter Giorgio (based on the real-life Giorgio Morandi), who, after a living life fully on his own terms, now moves inexorably towards death. His correspondent -- a renowned artist of the harsh Cumbrian landscape -- Peter Caldicutt, is navigating his own transition into middle age and contemplates his past as he lies wounded on a mountain. The third character, Annette-- a student of the Italian painter -- could have risen to the top of the art world but now practices her art as a flower arranger and seller; her creeping blindness has lead to a rich inner visionary life. And probably foremost, there is Susan, who is horrifically emotionally wounded from the death of her twin brother; this may be the most vivid, precise, and lacerating view of a person in grief that I have EVER read. She turns from the man with whom she shares a life to pulsating sex with her gallery partner's husband to feel alive and connected again.

Susan reflects: "It isn't grief. Grief would be simple. Something internal, something integral, has shifted. You feel lost from yourself. No. Absent. You feel absent. It's like looking into a mirror and seeing no familiar reflection, no one you recognize hosted within the glass." The book is filled with reflections like these on the human condition: grief and resiliency, reality and illusion, love and loss, art and creativity.
Read more ›
3 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bonnie Brody TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 24, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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 about a different artist. The composition of the book is much like a chorale in music with each artist playing a different role in the book.

There is Suzi, a curator and photographer, who is so lost in her grief for her dead twin and mentor, Danny, that she has lost herself. No matter what extremes she goes to in order to feel alive, her grief is pervasive and overriding. In fact, the emotion is so strong that she denies it is grief. "You're not sure what's wrong exactly; it's hard to put your finger on, hard to articulate. It isn't grief. Grief would be simple. Something internal, something integral, has shifted. You feel lost from yourself. No. Absent. You feel absent. It's like looking into a mirror and seeing no familiar reflection, no one you recognize hosted within the glass." Hall's descriptions of grief are the most profound and poignant I have ever read. The poignancy is reflected in the demise of the human spirit as it searches to be reborn.

Annette is a blind Italian florist, caught up in the visions in her head. Despite her mother's attempts to keep her childlike, she blooms , much like the flowers she loves. She sees beauty in others, senses colors, and is empathic.
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?