The Model by Lars Saabye Christensen

The Model

Lars Saabye Christensen

Peter Wihl, a celebrated painter, is nearing 50 when he’s told he is going blind. Slow to begin, this well-translated story reveals the desperate measures he takes to regain his sight in order to finish paintings for his new exhibition. This achieved, we read of the reaction of his family and manager to his new look – and of the personal cost he endures. An easy read building to an explosive end.

Extract

Even before the first scene was over Peter had had enough. Once again he was taken aback by the seductively fraudulent symmetry, this time in this fallacious story based on reality, as was claimed in the blurb, and no stories can be more fallacious than those based on so-called reality: the blind artisan who is forced to send his only daughter away, the beautiful daughter, who becomes a servant girl in Vermeer's house and in due course his model. It was too much for Peter. It was romantic and evil. It hit a raw nerve and upset him. He could not tolerate it. It was more than he could endure. He had to go. He had never left a film in the middle before. He had always stayed in his seat whether he was dying for a pee, thirsty, drunk, ill or desperate; no matter how trashy the film was, he had stayed in the cinema as if cast under a spell of politeness, fear, habit, good manners until it was over and the guilty parties were named in the credits. Now he had to get out. It was like a conspiracy, the conspiracy of symmetry and he was being encircled and crowded in. It was becoming ever more stifling. He could not breathe. Soon he would have a panic attack. He had to get out, the sooner the better. He had to get away from this extravagant delusion, this symmetrical hell. He found Kaia's hand.

Parallels
  • The Half Brother by Lars Saabye Christensen
  • The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh by Vincent Van Gogh

Books with similar mood

The Taliban Cricket Club

Timeri N Murari

The Mayor's Tongue

Nathaniel Rich

One Way

S. J. Morden

Gravity

Tess Gerritsen

Your Fathers, Where Are They? And The Prophets, Do They Live Forever?

Dave Eggers

King Crow

Michael Stewart

The Hired Man

Aminatta Forna

America Pacifica

Anna North

Equations of Life

Simon Morden

From a Low and Quiet Sea

Donal Ryan

The Bees

Laline Paull

The Scream

Laurent Graff

The Black Madonna

Peter Millar

Walk the Blue Fields

Claire Keegan

Surface

Siddhartha Deb

Skin Lane

Neil Bartlett

A Girl Returned

Donatella Di Pietrantonio

Tangerine

Christine Mangan

Ancillary Justice

Ann Leckie

The Panda Theory

Pascal Garnier

The Behaviour of Moths

Poppy Adams

Mister Pip

Lloyd Jones

Greater Love

Lucy Wadham

Oracle

Ian Watson

Deja Dead

Kathy Reichs

Esther's Inheritance

Sandor Marai

East of Hounslow

Khurrum Rahman

Out of Shadows

Jason Wallace

Eureka

William Diehl

Phreak

Denise Danks

Stranded

Emily Barr

Mice

Gordon Reece

I Do Not Come to You By Chance

Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani

Q and A

Vikas Swarup

Wales Half Welsh

John Williams (ed)

Spoiler

Amanda Prantera

The Precipice

Ben Bova

The Transition

Luke Kennard

The Wall

William Sutcliffe

The Boy Who Could See Demons

Carolyn Jess-Cooke

The Innocents

Laura Lippman

Who is Mr Satoshi?

Jonathan Lee

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

Aimee Bender

The Juggler

Sebastian Beaumont

The Search

Maureen Myant

Child 44

Tom Rob Smith

Gifted

Nikita Lalwani

Astonishing Splashes of Colour

Clare Morrall

The Cardamom Club

Jon Stock