Books·Canadian

The Italian Teacher

A son tries to live up to the his father's artistic legacy in Tom Rachman's novel.

Tom Rachman

Rome, 1955. The artists gather for a picture at a party in an ancient villa. Bear Bavinsky, creator of vast canvases, larger than life, is at the centre of the picture. His wife, Natalie, edges out of the shot.

From the side of the room watches little Pinch — their son. At five years old, he loves Bear almost as much as he fears him. After Bear abandons their family, Pinch still worships him, striving to live up to the Bavinsky name. Meanwhile Natalie, a ceramicist, cannot hope to be more than a forgotten muse. Trying to burn brightly in his father's shadow, Pinch's attempts flicker and die. Yet by the end of a career of twists and compromises, Pinch will enact an unexpected rebellion that will leave forever his mark upon the Bear Bavinsky legacy.

A masterful, original examination of love, duty, art and fame, The Italian Teacher cements Tom Rachman as among this generation's most exciting literary voices. (From Doubleday Canada)

From the book

Bear's studio was once a grain depot against the walls of a sixteenth-century prison, but today is a cave of a workshop, dingy because Bear prefers it that way, seeking extremes of shadow in his paintings. It's also where they live, Natalie having first posed on the drapery at the back, then moved in, now raising their son here. As a home, it leaves much to be desired. The only sources of illumination are three scorching metal spotlights that Bear picked up from a props guy at Cinecittà, plus whatever daylight sneaks through the opened iron door. When it swings open late one Sunday morning in December, Bear stands there, fresh from his favorite bakery near Campo de' Fiori, which he visited after a late night out.


From The Italian Teacher by Tom Rachman ©2018. Published by Double Day Canada.

Interviews with Tom Rachman

Tom Rachman explores art and ego in his novel about an egotistical artist and his needy son. 16:55

 

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