How to Paint a Dead Man: A Novel (Paperback)
"Hall's writing manages to combine acute sensitivity and daring. ... Visceral and engaging. ... The emotional lives of her characters are skillfully realized in this bright weave of disparate voices–for whom art is at once a way of seeing and a way of life." —The Times (London)
The lives of four individuals—a dying painter, a blind girl, a landscape artist, and an art curator—intertwine across nearly five decades in this luminous and searching novel of extraordinary power. With How to Paint a Dead Man, , Sarah Hall, "one of the most significant and exciting of Britain's young novelists" (The Guardian), delivers "a maddeningly enticing read...an amazing feat of literary engineering" (The Independent on Sunday).
About the Author
Sarah Hall was born in Cumbria. She is the prizewinning author of six novels and three short story collections. She is a recipient of the American Academy of Arts and Letters E. M. Forster Award, Edge Hill Short Story Prize, among others, and the only person ever to win the BBC National Short Story Award twice.
“Sarah Hall is a huge talent. Her third novel, How To Paint A Dead Man, is a beautiful, powerful book of love, lust, death, passion, art, desperation and loss. She writes her characters brilliantly.” — Bookseller (London), “Bookseller's Choice, June 2009”
“Invigorating….her verbal depiction of fictional art never stales…This deeply sensual novel is what you rarely find - an intelligent page-turner which, perversely, you also want to read slowly to savour Hall’s luscious way of looking at the world.” — The Sunday Telegraph
“Her latest novel, even more than ever, reads as though it was an absolute thrill to write....a maddeningly enticing read...an amazing feat of literary engineering.” — The Independent on Sunday "New Review"
“Timely...Her writing is visceral and engaging, and the emotional lives of her characters are skillfully realized in this bright weave of disparate voices--for whom art is at once a way of seeing and a way of life.” — The Times (London)
“A stylish novel, as replete with ideas as it is technically ambitious...Hall builds her characters as a pointillist uses paint...there is no denying the confidence of her style and her emotional intelligence.” — The Guardian
“Sex, death, art: the materials with which Sarah Hall works are potent indeed. And, given a lyrical style so beautifully worked and savoursome you can taste it, this novel could have overwhelmed. Hall’s book, however, slips cleverly between four separate narratives, allowing space for echoes to sound and tension to build...each narrative is a suggestive, almost tactile construct, with Hall’s talent evident on every page.” — Daily Mail (London)
“A fiction pre-occupied both with the act of looking and with the way that perception creates, as well as records reality...Sarah Hall writes a fine, vivid prose of exceptional poetic intensity and...luminous beauty.” — Daily Telegraph (London)
“Sensory... its main pleasures lie...in the bloody evocation of emotion, perception and the animal proximity of sex to death...Hall physicalizes abstract experience... urgently.” — Metro
"Artists and the art world dominate this novel of love and landscape. Hall deftly balances multiple narratives across a generation and a geographical area bridging England and Italy....Displaying a sure command of character as well as a poetic mastery of language, Hall is a talent to be reckoned with.” — Kirkus Reviews
“This labyrinthine and rewarding novel changes what the reader seeks in a story...How to Paint a Dead Man is a rich and probing study of the things we live for: beauty, solitude, family and love...a work of great philosophical richness. It is an ambitious novel and its structure has a stronger affinity with the timing of a poem. ... While Hall scours the most uncomfortable corners of life, How to Paint a Dead Man remains a work of warmth, hope and savage beauty. A writer of great intelligence and literary prowess, Hall earned her early comparisons with Thomas Hardy and D.H. Lawrence. With this powerful new novel, Hall has entered a terrain all of her own.” — Sydney Morning Herald
“Daring...Hall has proven that there’s no topic she’ll refuse to tackle...How to Paint a Dead Man may be Hall’s most ambitious work yet...Hall’s tight, stylish prose, marked by inventive turns of phrase, carries the reader...Along with contemporaries like Scarlett Thomas and Lydia Millet, Hall is staking new ground for women in the “novel of ideas” category. Full of haunting images and thought-provoking ideas, How to Paint a Dead Man will linger in the mind.” — BookPage
“Daring...Along with contemporaries like Scarlett Thomas and Lydia Millet, Hall is staking new ground for women in the “novel of ideas” category. Full of haunting images and thought-provoking ideas, How to Paint a Dead Man will linger in the mind.” — BookPage
“In this gorgeous still life of a book, Sarah Hall gives us four lives…each narrated in a different voice…Hall has a poet’s gift, and this novel is best enjoyed as a prose poem whose blindingly beautiful insights gradually accrue…She has made visible to us…the ever-present shadow of eternity.” — Washington Post Book World