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As the result of a series of fortuitous encounters and circumstances, the Italian writer Giacomo Longhi falls victim to an obsessive curiosity about the famous English artist Julian Sax. He would like to meet Sax, but the great painter is surrounded by an almost impenetrable protective screen. The writer’s wife, the charming and sensuous Rossa, eventually takes him to a tea room in London, where Sax spends a few hours of each day accompanied by his children, models and friends. The narrator begins to fear that his wife Rossa might succumb to the charms of this seductive man, who attracts women, paints them and then discards them. In an unpredictable sequence of events, Elkann weaves a fascinating web that blends reality and fiction, and draws the reader into the lives of characters who will prove hard to forget.
wine. Very expensive wine.” “But I don’t even know his address!” “Go to Tony’s, it’s a tea shop near Notting Hill Gate. He’s there every morning at nine.” “What’s he like?” “You can’t say he’s an easy man. He has an ambiguous relationship with money and with women. He is very reserved and arrogant too, in a certain sense. But he is undoubtedly an extraordinary artist. He is very capricious and moody, but remember, if you wish to speak with him, the best thing is to take him a bottle of the
emotion in me compared to the other times. Who was I to decide to kill him, even through a novel and a fictional character like Ted? I began to realise that Ted would not do it because, as he was preparing to commit the crime, to eliminate his rival for ever and avenge Lisa’s offended love, something would make him see that he couldn’t do it. Killing Sax would not be right, it wouldn’t bring him luck. Besides, wasn’t it absurd to think of winning a woman by killing the man she was in love with?
eye. I felt we had similar tastes. When we parted I thought I wasn’t used to speaking to her that way. I wasn’t worried about her being attracted to handsome young men, but because she was too intelligent and was bound to get hurt. Although I had messed up many matters of the heart in my life, I still felt that our relationship was secure. Rossa, Sole and I went to have breakfast at Tony’s on Saturday. Julian Sax was there, sitting at a round table with one of his daughters, a grandson, and his
go because I didn’t feel like seeing him.” “Why do you look down on him so much? He’s a great artist!” “That’s what you think.” “It’s not just me, the market thinks so too.” “I prefer other artists. I prefer Hopper.” “But Hopper is dead.” “So what, Leonardo, Poussin, and Caravaggio are dead too!” “Okay, let’s not argue about it.” Sole is like that. She is not an easy person to understand and she is moody. It’s very hard to be accepted by her. Since childhood she has always tried to
said that you are the Noel Coward of twentieth-century painting.” “Maybe because we were both photographed by Cecil Beaton. As a young man Bloom was slim, handsome, a playboy.” “And now?” “He drinks, leads a boring life, and he’s forever talking about his children.” “What relationship do you have with your children?” “Weren’t we supposed to be discussing my exhibition?” “So, tell me, why did you choose to hold it in Venice?” “Someone suggested the idea to my dealer, I’m not involved with