Lindy Burleigh

Portrait of A Painting

Keeping the World Away

By

Chatto & Windus 338pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

The lives of women, both extraordinary and ordinary, and, in particular, the tension between domesticity and independence are subjects frequently revisited in the work of the novelist and biographer Margaret Forster. Her latest novel is a variation on this theme and in it she explores women’s often troubled relationship to creativity. In the prologue, Gillian, a young art student and one of the protagonists, wonders about ‘the lives of actual paintings’ as opposed to the lives of painters, and Keeping the World Away is, in essence, a biography of a picture. The work in question is an unsigned study of an interior by Gwen John and the novel follows its history over the course of a century, telling us how it comes to be in the possession of a succession of women, connecting them obliquely to each other and to the artist. 

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Something of an 'eccentric billionaire’s hobby': reviews 'The Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and… ,
    • "At the age of fifteen, drunk on stolen Chardonnay or stoned on pot at a swimming party, the thoughts that come imm… ,
    • For the latest Bookends, here's Alan Taylor musing on his stint as an assistant librarian. ,
    • A ‘pretentious ass and impotent arriviste’ who surrounded himself with ‘degenerates, hooligans, childish layabouts,… ,
    • . reviews 'Aristotle’s Way: How Ancient Wisdom Can Change Your Life' by ,
    • "As Beevor shows, it was one of the most daring, dangerous and fiercely fought operations of the whole war. It was… ,
    • "The characters are very rich and very male, with astronomical ambitions. The potted biographies in this book sugge… ,