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How to Paint a Dead Man

Sarah Hall

Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2009

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Italy in the early 1960s: a dying painter considers the sacrifices and losses that have made him an enigma, both to strangers and those closest to him. He begins his last life painting, using the same objects he has painted obsessively for his entire career – a small group of bottles.

In Cumbria 30 years later, a landscape artist – and admirer of the Italian recluse – finds himself trapped in the extreme terrain that has made him famous.

And in present-day London, his daughter, an art curator struggling with the sudden loss of her twin brother while trying to curate an exhibition about the lives of the twentieth-century European masters, is drawn into a world of darkness and sexual abandon.

Covering half a century, this is a luminous and searching novel, and Hall’s most accomplished work to date.

Critic Reviews

Sarah Hall is a huge talent. Her ... 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 and is one of my favourite writers of the past few years - and I wish I had more space to enthuse.

Ruth Atkins, Booksellers Choice, The Bookseller
Critic Reviews

Sarah Hall's writing is powerful as well as delicate, and HOW TO PAINT A DEAD MAN affords the deepest pleasures fiction has to offer. She weaves together the four strands of the story with supreme conviction, beauty and emotional intelligence. To read it is to become a staunch admirer.

Nadeem Aslam
Critic Reviews

Elegantly entwining four separate but interconnected lives - from a dying painter to a young woman having a dangerous affair - it's a moving read.

Elle Magazine
Critic Reviews

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.

Lucy Beresford, Sunday Telegraph
Critic Reviews

An amazing feat of literary engineering. ... While her characters are sharp and hauntingly memorable ... it is for her mastery of landscape that Hall is most acclaimed.

Katy Guest, Independent on Sunday
Critic Reviews

Elegant and poetic ... Captivating.

Eithne Farry, Marie Claire

Sarah Hall was born in Cumbria. Twice nominated for the Man Booker Prize, she is the award-winning author of six novels and three short-story collections: The Beautiful Indifference, which won the Edge Hill and Portico prizes, Madame Zero, winner of the East Anglian Book Award, and Sudden Traveller, shortlisted for the James Tait Black Prize for Fiction. She is currently…

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