Book Review | Mr. Gwyn by Alessandro Baricco

mr gwyn book coverMr. Gwyn is a noteworthy English author who has publicly announced that he will write books no longer. To the dismay of his agent, Gwyn has decided that he wishes to become a copyist – although he is unsure what that entails in the present day. Following a chance meeting with an older woman, Gwyn chooses a unique new venture: he will write portraits. After constructing a studio for his new career, he selects as his first subject Rebecca, his agent’s intern who has a beautiful face, but slightly undesirable body so as not to tempt himself. The task goes well, Rebecca is impressed with her written portrait and accepts a job working for Gwyn. He completes several more portraits, which delight their various subjects, before up and disappearing. Rebecca, hurt by his departure, deems a note left for her to be an unsatisfactory and does not start piecing together what happened until years later.

Critical reception of this novel has been quite positive. I found the writing style to be intriguing and easy to follow, but overall I felt the book was lacking. Character’s emotions are not deeply explored, nor are the characters themselves. The book is not so hard to get into, but I found myself indifferent as to the course it would be taking. Check it out at a library near you

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About amy de simone
Amy is an active volunteer, traveler and photographer. She is interested in art, libraries, museums and nonprofits. She holds an M.A. in Library & Information Studies and a B.A. in Italian Language & Literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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