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; a landscape 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.
Earn by promoting books
Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.Become an affiliate
About the Author
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.
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 "A sly, atmospheric work." --The Millions "Baricco's language thrives (here through Ann Goldstein's graceful translation) in this light application of archetypal British mystery to an otherwise Kafkaesque narrative." --Full Stop "The reader of Mr. Gwyn... becomes wholly implicated and immersed, drawn into a dreamy and idiosyncratic world that blurs the division between reader, character and writer." --The Quarterly Conversation