A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice Pick!
One of Mother Jones’s Best Books of 2014!
After celebrated author Jasper Gwyn suddenly and publicly announces that he will never write another book, he embarks on a strange new career path as a “copyist,” holding thirty-day sittings in a meticulously appointed room and producing, at the end, brief but profoundly rich portraits in prose. The surprising, beautiful, and even frightening results are received with rapture by their subjects—among them Gwyn’s devoted assistant, Rebecca; a beautiful fabric importer; a landscape painter; Gwyn’s own literary agent; two wealthy newlyweds; a tailor to the Queen; and a very dangerous nineteen-year-old.
Then Gwyn disappears, leaving behind only a short note to his assistant—and the portraits. As Rebecca studies his words, she realizes that the mystery is larger than the simple fact of Gwyn’s whereabouts, and she begins to unravel a lifetime’s worth of clues left by a man who saw so much but said so little, a man whose solitude masked a heart as hungry as hers.
Read an excerpt of Mr. Gwyn right here
Praise for Mr. Gwyn:
“Alessandro Baricco’s “Mr. Gwyn” is the kind of wonderful discovery for which book critics wade through stacks of volumes. It is a standout… [and] one of the most unusual stories about love you’ll ever read.”
—San Francisco Chronicle
“[Alessandro] Baricco has written a tender meditation on the almost imperceptible ways in which people, and books, can change us, resonate, call out over the years, sending us back in time and destabilizing us, like so many Trojan horses smuggled into our lives under cover of darkness. ”
—The New York Times Book Review
“Baricco’s narrative virtuosity continues to astonish.” —The Independent
“I judged this book at first by its elegant cover, and a good thing, too, for within it was a story that’s truly unique… Baricco’s characters are enigmatic and his story enticingly mysterious.”
“The work is a blended balance of satisfying resolve and loose ends that wander off the borders of the page, and recommended to anyone interested in fresh similes, comforting strangeness, and the confusion that clouds the human heart.”
“A prolific European master often compared to Italo Calvino, Baricco is still best known in the States for the cult classic Silk—but that should change with this enigmatic novel, which offers genial weirdness unparalleled this side of Haruki Murakami.”
“A tour de force of literary fiction”
—Kirkus (Starred review)
“High-minded literary mystery novel”
“A very enjoyable read.”
—The Complete Review
“Intriguing… a work of subtle touches.”
“A cerebral mystery”
“Alessandro Baricco limns these narrative connections with a great deal of mastery and a very delicate sense of touch.”
—World Literature Today
“This is a strange, satisfying summer read. Fast and light, though not without a little intellectual rigor.”
“A sly, atmospheric work.”
“Baricco’s language thrives (here through Ann Goldstein’s graceful translation) in this light application of archetypal British mystery to an otherwise Kafkaesque narrative.”