Longlisted for the International Man Booker Prize
A New York Times
Top 10 Best Book of the Year
Best Book of the Year
Longlisted for the Best Translated Book Award
The story of Urbain Martien lies con-tained in two notebooks he left behind when he died. In War and Turpentine,
his grandson, a writer, retells his grandfather's story, the notebooks providing a key to the locked chambers of Urbain's memory.
But who is he, really? There is Urbain the child of a lowly church painter; Urbain the young man, who narrowly escapes death in an iron foundry; Urbain the soldier; and Urbain the man, married to his true love's sister, haunted by the war and his interrupted dreams of life as an artist. Wrestling with this tale, the grandson straddles past and present, searching for a way to understand his own part in both. As artfully rendered as a Renais-sance fresco, War and Turpentine
paints an ex-traordinary portrait of a man, re-vealing how a single life can echo through the ages.
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