+612 9045 4394
 
CHECKOUT
The Last Painting of Sara De Vos - Dominic Smith

The Last Painting of Sara De Vos

Paperback

Published: 27th April 2016
In Stock. Ships in 1-2 business days from Australia
RRP $32.99
$25.50
23%
OFF

eBook View Product

Published: 27th April 2016
Format: ePUB
RRP $22.99
$18.50
20%
OFF

Caroline Baum's Review

Any buzz you may have heard about this book is entirely justified. It is, hands down the most polished, intelligent, utterly satisfying literary fiction of the year. It has everything: a compelling plot full of twists and turns, characters who remain intriguing to the very end, multiple locations and a narrative split between different periods, each richly observed in the minutest telling detail.

The themes, scope and ambition of this novel are big: this is a book about art that examines authenticity from many different perspectives and angles. Both on the canvas and in human nature. But while the topic is serious, the tone is often playful and there is much mischief and fun to be had. In the world of seventeenth century Holland painter Sarah de Vos has lost a daughter and embeds her sorrow in her landscapes. In modern day New York and Sydney, collectors, curators and scholars stake their reputations on works that may or may not be any more genuine than they are themselves.

Intelligent and elegantly choreographed, this is one of those novels that makes you feel smarter for reading it and manages to be both entertaining and informative. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Blurb

A dazzling and mesmerising story that charts the collision course between a rare landscape by a female Dutch painter of the golden age, an inheritor of the work in 1950s Manhattan, and a celebrated art historian who painted a forgery of it in her youth. A literary novel of breathtaking scope, ambition and achievement.

This is what we long for: the profound pleasure of being swept into vivid new worlds, worlds peopled by characters so intriguing and real that we can't shake them, even long after the reading's done. In this extraordinary novel, The Last Painting of Sara de Vos, US-based Australian writer Dominic Smith brilliantly bridges the historical and the contemporary, tracking a collision course between a rare landscape by a female Dutch painter of the Golden Age, an inheritor of the work in 1950s Manhattan, and a celebrated Australian art historian who painted a forgery of it in her youth.

In 1631, Sara de Vos is admitted as a master painter to the Guild of St. Luke in Holland, the first woman to be so honoured. Three hundred years later, only one work attributed to de Vos is known to remain-a haunting winter scene, At the Edge of a Wood, which hangs over the Manhattan bed of a wealthy descendant of the original owner. An Australian grad student, Ellie Shipley, struggling to stay afloat in New York, agrees to paint a forgery of the landscape, a decision that will haunt her. Because now, half a century later, she's curating an exhibit of female Dutch painters, and both versions threaten to arrive. As the three threads intersect with increasing and exquisite suspense, The Last Painting of Sara de Vos mesmerises while it grapples with the demands of the artistic life, showing how the deceits of the past can forge the present.

About the Author

Dominic Smith is the author of three previously published novels from Atria. His awards include a Dobie Paisano Fellowship, the Sherwood Anderson Fiction Prize, the Gulf Coast Fiction Prize, and a new works grant from the Literature Board of the Australia Council for the Arts. His debut novel, The Mercury Visions of Louis Daguerre, was a Barnes & Noble Discover New Writers Book, and received the Turner Prize for First Fiction from the Texas Institute of Letters. His second novel, The Beautiful Miscellaneous, was a Booklist Editors' Choice and optioned for film by Southpaw Entertainment. His most recent novel, Bright and Distant Shores, was named by Kirkus as one of the 'Best Books of 2011' and chosen by the ALA for its annual reading list. In Australia, he was shortlisted for the Age Book of the Year and the Victorian Premier's Prize for Fiction. His fiction has appeared in numerous journals and magazines, including The Atlantic Monthly.

WRITE A REVIEW

REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
The Last Painting of Sara De Vos
 
4.4

(based on 14 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (8)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (4)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

92%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Engaging characters (12)
  • Well written (12)
  • Page turner (9)
  • Deserves multiple readings (7)
  • Suspenseful (4)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

  • Gift (7)
  • Older readers (6)
  • Travel reading (5)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Everyday reader (8), Bookworm (5)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

It's a winner - historical fiction and modern times

I was hovering around 4 stars for most of this book but found when I finished it that I had a smile on my face and couldn't stop thinking about it - must be the...Read complete review

I was hovering around 4 stars for most of this book but found when I finished it that I had a smile on my face and couldn't stop thinking about it - must be the sign of a good book! Loved the meandering storyline between the three different periods of time and how they all linked together. As a fan of Tracy Chevalier books, I loved the historical Dutch chapters from the 1600s but also enjoyed the modern link in the 1950s and the 2000s. How wonderful it would be to know the history behind a lot of the art that we get to enjoy. I just loved how Dominic Smith created this tale. I would definitely recommend this book to my fellow reader friends.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Very disappointing

After reading several reviews and seeing/hearing the book reviewed on radio and TV I was eager to enjoy reading this novel. Being a female artist myself and actually painting in oils in an...Read complete review

After reading several reviews and seeing/hearing the book reviewed on radio and TV I was eager to enjoy reading this novel. Being a female artist myself and actually painting in oils in an old Dutch master classical realist style I thought this would be a real treat. I can't overstate how disappointed I was. I thought it so clumsily written and the personal intimate interactions depicted made me cringe. I was not overly impressed with the descriptions of old master techniques either. The author failed to draw me into the world of any of the characters and I found them all quite "thinly sketched" and unappealing. The language used is self conscious and florid. I'm forcing myself to finish it...something not yet accomplished...I really do not understand why people are raving about this book.

Reviewed by 14 customers

Displaying reviews 1-10

Back to top

Previous | Next »

 
5.0

An excellent read

By 

from Australia

About Me Everyday Reader

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Deserves Multiple Readings
  • Engaging Characters
  • Page Turner
  • Well Written

Cons

    Best Uses

      Comments about The Last Painting of Sara De Vos:

      This book was selected by my book club which has been running for over 10 years and was one of the best books we have ever read. Beautifully written, well researched within an interesting historical context.

      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      2.0

      Very disappointing

      By 

      from Sydney

      About Me Everyday Reader

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • A promising topic

      Cons

      • Disappointing
      • Not What I expected

      Best Uses

      • Door stopper

      Comments about The Last Painting of Sara De Vos:

      After reading several reviews and seeing/hearing the book reviewed on radio and TV I was eager to enjoy reading this novel. Being a female artist myself and actually painting in oils in an old Dutch master classical realist style I thought this would be a real treat. I can't overstate how disappointed I was. I thought it so clumsily written and the personal intimate interactions depicted made me cringe. I was not overly impressed with the descriptions of old master techniques either. The author failed to draw me into the world of any of the characters and I found them all quite "thinly sketched" and unappealing. The language used is self conscious and florid. I'm forcing myself to finish it...something not yet accomplished...I really do not understand why people are raving about this book.

       
      4.0

      Interesting historically

      By 

      from Mount Eliza, Vic, Au

      About Me Bookworm

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Engaging Characters
      • Page Turner
      • Suspenseful
      • Well Written

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Gift
        • Older Readers

        Comments about The Last Painting of Sara De Vos:

        Being Dutch and interested in both history and art I thoroughly enjoyed the book.

        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        wonderful.

        By 

        from Pt lincoln, Au

        About Me Everyday Reader

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Deserves Multiple Readings
        • Engaging Characters
        • Page Turner
        • Suspenseful
        • Well Written

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Gift
          • Older Readers
          • Reference

          Comments about The Last Painting of Sara De Vos:

          happy I ordered it.

           
          5.0

          Intriguing and interesting - what went before?

          By 

          from Perth Western Australia

          About Me Everyday Reader

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Deserves Multiple Readings
          • Engaging Characters
          • Page Turner
          • Suspenseful
          • Well Written

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Gift
            • Older Readers
            • Reference
            • Travel Reading

            Comments about The Last Painting of Sara De Vos:

            Well presented print format. Author's frequent switching between characters and times zones could have been better noticed, if different typefaces had been used when story alternated between the past centuries and characters and the current time.
            It was a long book but interest is well maintained by a fast-moving plot.

             
            4.0

            A book to treasure and read again.

            By 

            from Kyogle, NSW

            About Me Bookworm

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Deserves Multiple Readings
            • Engaging Characters
            • Well Written

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Gift
              • Travel Reading

              Comments about The Last Painting of Sara De Vos:

              Great Cover, ideal to handle and good size print.

               
              5.0

              A good book

              By 

              from NSW

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Page Turner

              Cons

                Best Uses

                  Comments about The Last Painting of Sara De Vos:

                  Most enjoyable

                   
                  5.0

                  Great resd

                  By 

                  from Bulli

                  About Me Bookworm

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

                  • Deserves Multiple Readings
                  • Engaging Characters
                  • Page Turner
                  • Suspenseful
                  • Well Written

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                    • Gift
                    • Travel Reading

                    Comments about The Last Painting of Sara De Vos:

                    I had kept this book to read on a long plane journey. It did not disappoint. I really enjoyed the book with the frisson of suspense. I had not read this author before but will look out for her in the future

                     
                    5.0

                    Stunningly beautiful

                    By 

                    from Central Coasr NSW

                    About Me Everyday Reader

                    Verified Buyer

                    Pros

                    • Deserves Multiple Readings
                    • Engaging Characters
                    • Page Turner
                    • Well Written

                    Cons

                      Best Uses

                      • Gift
                      • Older Readers

                      Comments about The Last Painting of Sara De Vos:

                      Moves seamlessly between centuries. Beautiful insight into characters and locations.

                       
                      3.0

                      Hmmmmmm?

                      By 

                      from Melbourne

                      About Me Everyday Reader

                      Verified Buyer

                      Pros

                      • Engaging Characters
                      • Well Written

                      Cons

                      • Not What I expected

                      Best Uses

                        Comments about The Last Painting of Sara De Vos:

                        Thought th book was interesting the way it covered three different eras and I felt that it portrayed life in the 1600s briefly but cleverly. The guilds could have been explained better, that was a bit confusing.
                        I wish the characters had been given more depth, felt there was a lost opportunity here. A few loose ends but a fairly good yarn.

                        Displaying reviews 1-10

                        Back to top

                        Previous | Next »

                        'Highly evocative of time and place, this stunning novel explores a triumvirate of fate, choice and consequence, and is worthy of comparison to Tracy Chevalier's Girl with a Pearl Earring and Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch . . . A masterly, multilayered story that will dazzle readers.' - Library Journal

                        ISBN: 9781743439951
                        ISBN-10: 1743439954
                        Audience: General
                        Format: Paperback
                        Language: English
                        Number Of Pages: 384
                        Published: 27th April 2016
                        Publisher: Allen & Unwin
                        Country of Publication: AU
                        Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.3