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An Equal Stillness por Francesca Kay
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An Equal Stillness (original 2009; edición 2009)

por Francesca Kay

MiembrosReseñasPopularidadValoración promediaMenciones
1198184,674 (3.77)34
Jennet Mallow finds her creative interest in art alienates her from her family. She moves to London & meets painter David Feaver. When she falls pregnant, they are forced to marry, but struggle to make ends meet. As David becomes reliant on drink, they move to Spain. But soon they enter a destructive spiral with tragic consequences.… (más)
Miembro:winabook02
Título:An Equal Stillness
Autores:Francesca Kay
Info:Phoenix (2009), Paperback
Colecciones:Tu biblioteca
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Etiquetas:Ninguno

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An Equal Stillness por Francesca Kay (2009)

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    The Carousel por Rosamunde Pilcher (MissBrangwen)
    MissBrangwen: Although these works are very different in content and style, they are both set in Cornwall and among artists, and art and the sea play important roles in both of them.
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I'm in the habit of reading something from the non-fiction shelves during the day, and a novel at night, and so when memory stirred as I was reading Stella Bowen's autobiography Drawn from Life, I hunted out Francesca Kay's An Equal Stillness from the TBR. This novel explores the same dilemma in fiction that featured in real life in the Sensational Snippet that I posted from Bowen's book. As the bookcover blurb says: Artist, lover, wife, mother: can one woman be them all? To be more specific, how do women reconcile being a loving, supportive spouse with the need to advance their own careers, especially if they have a special gift?

An Equal Stillness is a novel but it reads like an intimate biography, charting an artist's professional and personal life from a close perspective. It's clear-eyed and not blind to the subject's faults, but it's gentle and not quite detached. It's not until the very end of the book that the reason for this is revealed, though some readers may guess it beforehand. What they may also not guess is that this is not a fictionalised retelling of a real artist's life... Jennet Mallow is an entirely fictional creation and using the form of a biography is the author's way of making the story convincing.

Jennet was born in England's north, in the fictional village of Litton Kirkdale in the upper valley of the River Aire, to a mother disappointed by life. Lorna wanted to escape her parents, and—this is not quite as cynical as it sounds—she married, fully expecting the man to die on the battlefields of WW1. Her father had died when she was 13, and her brother had died at Ypres. The people she loved had died, and she expected that Richard would die too. But he didn't, and he didn't want to stay in the army despite his family's traditions. He retreats to a quiet, humble life as a cleric, with a wife frustrated by his lack of ambition and their dull domestic life.

Somehow, from this blighted family, Jennet becomes an artist of renown. As a child she made art in a hidden space behind her bed, and untaught, she wins a scholarship to an art school in London in 1945. Thriving in the cultural milieu she marries another artist, David Heaton, older than her and already becoming successful. But before long she gives birth to a son called Ben, and her art takes second place to domestic life. When they go to Spain because they are fed up with dreary postwar England, she—pregnant again—is content with her role:
Those first few months in Santiago stayed in her mind as a time of happiness, and they mark the start of her most fecund periods as an artist.

To read the rest of my review please visit https://anzlitlovers.com/2020/05/25/an-equal-stillness-by-francesca-kay/ ( )
  anzlitlovers | May 25, 2020 |
I loved this book and wanted to return to it. The writing is lyrical and beautiful and the art descriptions so convincing I found myself googling them to find they and the artist were a figment of the author's imagination. A book that took me by surprise. ( )
  HelenBaker | May 25, 2020 |
Novel about the sources of creativity. Told is the story of a woman painter, Jennet Mallow (1924-2000) from her youthfull discovery of her love for drawing, till the end of her eventfull, passionate and dramatic life. Described are her childhood, young womanhood, relations with her father (crippled by memories of devasting wars), her disappointed mother, her fat sister, her art schooling, husband, familylife, children and lovers. And foremost her drive to paint and the concentration she need to succeed. A good deal of the book is spent on the description of the paintings. The story is loosely modelled on the life of British sculptor Barbara Hepworth and her circle. The First half of the novel is a good read. Beautiful descriptions about form and colour, but then the concept starts to rankle and looses her credibility. Still I found it a readable book about a subject I love; painting in form, colour and substance. ( )
  timswings | Dec 13, 2010 |
Really enjoyed this book, well written, good plot, believable with lots to say. ( )
  FiBee | Jan 17, 2010 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 8 (siguiente | mostrar todos)
You haven't heard of Jennet Mallow because she's fictional, but it's easy to forget that as you read this novel-posing-as-biography. So, too, do her paintings seem real, their colours and textures richly described in captivating detail. One wishes they did exist.

It is despite rather than because of the novel's pretence of biography that we get a sense of the artist. That pretence is not altogether successful and the narrative voice slips too often. In every other way, this insightful first novel about life and art is gorgeously written.
añadido por justjim | editarThe Age, Lorien Kaye (Mar 28, 2009)
 
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And immediately
Rather than words comes the thought of high windows: The sun-comprehending glass, And beyond it, the deep blue air, that shows Nothing, and is nowhere, and is endless. -Philip Larkin
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Write the life, they urged me, even at her graveside; no one but you should do it. Who better? You with your command of words, and besides, you were the closest.
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[…]air and sand and cold seawater all conspire to strip away the inessential, leaving behind a core that is, at least for the moment, stronger and more pure.
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Jennet Mallow finds her creative interest in art alienates her from her family. She moves to London & meets painter David Feaver. When she falls pregnant, they are forced to marry, but struggle to make ends meet. As David becomes reliant on drink, they move to Spain. But soon they enter a destructive spiral with tragic consequences.

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