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Search tags: juan-salvatierra
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review 2013-07-15 10:55
A book like a (pleasant) bug you can't get rid of
The Missing Year of Juan Salvatierra - Pedro Mairal

This is a great book. It's one of those books that you pick up and read it in one or two sittings, not even realizing you're reading. You put it down and think, "Huh, that was a good book," and then go do other things. And a day later you realize, "I'm still thinking about that book." Another day goes by, you realize, "Wait, I'm STILL thinking about that book." This goes on and on, and you understand that you've read a book that has made a lasting impact on you. 

 

The story - no spoiler here, don't worry - is about a man who goes mute and spends the rest of his life painting one long, incredible picture, that goes on and one for miles. When he dies, his sons come back to sell the picture and realize one year of their father's life is missing from this long painting. As they search for that missing year - get the title now? - they discover who their father really was. It's a beautiful story and I really recommend it. And a week or two weeks or a month after you've read the book (well, for me it's only been two weeks since I read it, so maybe I'm projecting a bit), you'll still be thinking of your life in terms of how you'd paint it. 

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review 2013-06-21 03:13
Nothing Missing in the Missing Year
The Missing Year of Juan Salvatierra - Pedro Mairal

This is a great little book about a great big idea - namely, art as life, life as art. In the story, a man loses his ability to speak and instead expresses his ideas through his paintbrush, painting a long and haunting canvass that flows like a muddy stream from one turn to the next. 

 

It's as pretty in English as a friend said it was in Spanish and I believe it, because it's beautiful and delicate and full of longing and the desire to KNOW. To KNOW, to UNDERSTAND.

 

Sometimes when people set out to find what they want, they don't want what they find. But The Missing Year of Juan Salvatierra is much more than that.

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review 2013-06-13 22:35
The Missing Year of Juan Salvatierra by Pedro Mairal
The Missing Year of Juan Salvatierra - Pedro Mairal

This is a great story - a mute man spends most of his life creating this strange work of art. He paints miles and miles of canvasses and is totally uninterested in typical fame and fortune. What drove him to do this? What will happen to the work once he's died? His two sons seem to have lived their own lives in their father's shadow and are certainly dwarfed by his artistic achievement. So how will they deal with his legacy? During their search for the missing roll of canvas, they find there are some aspects of their family's history that may have been left better untouched. 

 

Mairal's book is basically an art thriller mystery and a lot of fun to read -- kept me fascinated throughout. I'd like to read more of his books when they're available in English.

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review 2013-06-13 02:02
I read this book in one-go - it's such a cool story about one man's obsessive artistic vision. He paints every year, day after day, until he's covered miles of canvas in images about his life, his family and his neighbors. Since he can't speak it's his primary form of expression. Somehow, he never cares whether anyone sees this bizarre creation and when he dies his sons have to figure out what on earth to do with it. I won't give away the story, but it's really worth reading.
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