Lindy Burleigh

Picasso’s Pretender

The Painter of Battles

By

Weidenfeld & Nicolson 288pp £12.99 order from our bookshop

Faulques, the protagonist of this Spanish novel, is, like its author, a celebrated war photographer. However, after thirty years of jetting from one war zone to another, he’s hung up his Leica and is now occupied in painting the many horrific images indelibly imprinted on his retina – rape, torture, burning cities – onto the circular wall of the remote watchtower he lives in by the sea. By his own admission he is not a very good painter, but he feels compelled to paint a vast mural of battle scenes which will capture the meaning of war; hence he becomes the eponymous painter of battles. Although he has published a definitive collection of his photographs, The Eye of War, he is disillusioned with the ‘cold art’ of photography and has abandoned his camera for a brush and the more visceral, expressive medium of paint.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • In 'Silenced Voices' reports the ongoing story of the human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has been… ,
    • The mystery of Jack the Ripper's identity has long been agonised over. But what do we know about his victims?… ,
    • A piece of Literary Review history from way back in 1983: John Haffenden talks to the great Iris Murdoch. ,
    • Britain’s only travelling lit fest, the Garden Museum Literary Festival is heading to Houghton Hall, Norfolk, for a… ,
    • 'The 19th-century German sage is not my idea of a pleasant travel companion' goes hiking with Friedr… ,
    • If you want ideas about what to read next, sign up to our free email newsletter, and get book reviews, archive mate… ,
    • 'The heroic male nude could not, I think, be used today to signify civic pride and glory', as Michelangelo’s 'David… ,