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Mr. Gwyn [Hardcover]

Alessandro Baricco , Ann Goldstein

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Book Description

July 8 2014
After celebrated author Jasper Gwyn suddenly and publicly announces that he will never write another book, he embarks on a strange new career path as a "copyist," holding thirty-day sittings in a meticulously appointed room and producing, at the end, brief but profoundly rich portraits in prose. The surprising, beautiful, and even frightening results are received with rapture by their subjects-among them Gwyn's devoted assistant, Rebecca; a beautiful fabric importer; alandscape painter; Gwyn's own literary agent; two wealthy newlyweds; a tailor to the Queen; and a very dangerous nineteen-year-old.

Then Gwyn disappears, leaving behind only a short note to his assistant-and the portraits. As Rebecca studies his words, she realizes that the mystery is larger than the simple fact of Gwyn's whereabouts, and she begins to unravel a lifetime's worth of clues left by a man who saw so much but said so little, a man whose solitude masked a heart as hungry as hers.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 150 pages
  • Publisher: McSweeney's (July 8 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1938073967
  • ISBN-13: 978-1938073960
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 15 x 2.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #202,628 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice Pick. "A prolific European master often compared to Italo Calvino, Baricco is still best known in the States for the cult classic Silk--but that should change with this enigmatic novel, which offers genial weirdness unparalleled this side of Haruki Murakami." --Publishers Weekly "Alessandro Baricco's Mr. Gwyn is the kind of wonderful discovery for which book critics wade through stacks of volumes. It is a standout... [and] one of the most unusual stories about love you'll ever read." --San Francisco Chronicle "[Alessandro] Baricco has written a tender meditation on the almost imperceptible ways in which people, and books, can change us, resonate, call out over the years, sending us back in time and destabilizing us, like so many Trojan horses smuggled into our lives under cover of darkness. " --The New York Times Book Review "The work is a blended balance of satisfying resolve and loose ends that wander off the borders of the page, and recommended to anyone interested in fresh similes, comforting strangeness, and the confusion that clouds the human heart." --Booklist "A tour de force of literary fiction" --Kirkus (Starred review) "[A] high-minded literary mystery novel." --Vanity Fair "A very enjoyable read." --The Complete Review "Intriguing... a work of subtle touches."--Three Percent "A cerebral mystery"--Minneapolis StarTribune "This is a strange, satisfying summer read. Fast and light, though not without a little intellectual rigor." --Brooklyn Paper "Alessandro Baricco limns these narrative connections with a great deal of mastery and a very delicate sense of touch." --World Literature Today

About the Author

Alessandro Baricco is an Italian writer, director, and performer. He has won the Prix Medicis Étranger in France and the Selezione Campiello, Viareggio, and Palazzo al Bosco prizes in Italy.

Ann Goldstein is an editor at The New Yorker. She has translated three novels by Elena Ferrante- The Days of Abandonment, Troubling Love, The Lost Daughter-Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio, The Chill by Romano Bilenchi, The Father and the Stranger by Giancarlo de Cataldo, and The Worst Intentions by Alessandro Piperno. Her translation of Linda Ferri's Cecilia is forthcoming in May 2010. She received a PEN Renato Poggioli Translation Award and was a visiting scholar at the American Academy in Rome. She is currently editing the complete works of Primo Levi, for which she received a Guggenheim Translation fellowship. She lives in New York.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A refuge Aug. 6 2014
By Sara L. Wilburn - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Like Baricco's other books, Mr. Gwyn is impossible to put down, loads of mischievous fun, comforting and thought-provoking. Its characters are so vivid and so human, I found myself wondering about them days after I finished reading. Baricco's prose is lush, poetic and completely unique... unlike anything I've ever read before.

I love it when writers write about writing and actually create one of their characters' creations, as Baricco does here in the second half. In that regard, it reminds me a little of Nabokov's "Pale Fire." The book's innovative structure and general fearlessness remind me of Cortázar, and his poking holes in reality evokes Borges. Baricco's books share space on my shelf with these great writers because they thoroughly belong there.

If you loved his other novels, you'll love this one. If you've never read him before, this is an excellent place to start.
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Writing, Disjointed Conclusion Sept. 1 2014
By Natasha - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Baricco certainly has a grasp of weaving words into images that become tangible and so real you feel part of the story. While the story was clever and you inevitably become emotionally invested in the characters, the story falls apart at the end. The story becomes difficult to follow, and while it doesn't lose its enchanting style and remarkable way with words and storytelling, the plot disintegrates and fades into disjointed vignettes and a conclusion that feels as unsatisfying as Jasper Gwyn's own end.
5.0 out of 5 stars As Always - Unearthly and Brilliant Baricco Sept. 14 2014
By Alena - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I bought this book mesmerized by Baricco's writing in his Ocean Sea, and my expectations were met in the full. Mr. Gwyn seemed as if almost written by a different author, that different the storytelling felt, but at the same time you couldn't mistake the brilliance of Baricco in his perfect (intriguing, vibrant, human) characters, in his unearthly images and tricks of the plot. I consumed the book in a day, oblivious to everything around me. :)
4.0 out of 5 stars lyrically written Aug. 23 2014
By lise Despres - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Full of beautiful imagery that satisfies the senses. A provocative read about the essences of people and their stories told.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not wonderful Aug. 27 2014
By Jan Priddy - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Two previous reviewers find this novel "impossible to put down" and "lyrically written." Kirkus called it a "tour de force." I am at a loss to understand any of these judgments. I tried to love it, but I didn't. The first section requires persisting through a long section of relative tedium before payback at the end. The second section was also a slog. Overall. not wonderful. But then I am not the world's greatest fan of Murakami—to whom he is compared—though I have read a lot of his work, and enjoyed some of it a great deal. I can see the connection in their unconnectedness. I don't know real people who think, behave, or live like these characters, and frankly my dear, I don't give a damn.

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