The Portrait of Mrs Charbuue Read º 104

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The Portrait of Mrs Charbuque Read º 104 Ó A mysterious and richly evocative novel The Portrait of Mrs Charbuue tells the story of portraitist Piero Piambo who is offered a commission unlike any other The client is Mrs Charbuue a wealthy and elusive woman who asks Piambo to paint her portrait though with one bizarre twist he may uestion herA mysterious and richly evocative novel The Portrait of Mrs Charbuue tells the story of portraitist Piero Piambo who is offered a commission unlike any other The client is. This is an Uncorrected Proof of the hardcoverThrough this narrative of events Jeffrey Ford weaves a wonderful thread of mythic and classical allusion playing and mirroring metaphor while constructing a mystery in which both the characters and the reader are warned of red herrings A tale perhaps of redemption or alternately a delve into the nature of identity or gender a celebration of wonder that may parody religion while obviously contemplating the act of creation the author is too clever to reveal every intention clearly providing answers or an announcement of purpose without leaving uestions for the reader to ponder This is after all in part a mystery whose meaning may be lost in revealing but another belief mislaid and forgotten in the telling In this sense the author leaves us both fulfilled while wanting just a little bit In a piece written for the online journal Fantastic Metropolis Jeffrey Ford describes the inspiration for his novel The Portrait of Mrs Charbuue He tells of the sociology of modern art the effects of photography on the prestige of portrait painting and the new tension of art as the product of individual inspiration versus art as commissioned representation But Ford cites an unexpected additional inspiration two bits of lore surrounding Emily Dickinson The first was her habit of sitting behind a screen when people visited and second was that her friend Mabel Loomis Todd claimed to know “Emily her entire life but only actually saw her in her coffin” When Ford looked to confirm this anecdote for a lecture he found no reference to it That this Dickenson lore may be only that and that the second anecdote may be only the product of Ford’s imagination sets the tone for the strangeness the ineffability of this novel Nothing in this novel is certain its genre its twists and turnsAs in his previous works Ford has his protagonist begin the search for perfection for a state of paradise with no sure path to success Piambo discovers that he is not the first to attempt this portrait that his master also attempted the commission However both Sabbott and Shenz keep Piambo on track because they have faith that he can somehow put together the puzzle Counterpoint to this is the murderous Mr Charbuue on the run from the police suspected of murder and who jealously guards his wife threatening Piambo all the while The altar scene depicting the Garden of Eden is appropriate with its denizens as once again Ford denies us the chance to re enter it We are permanently cast out and no amount of reaching towards it will afford us re entry we can but enjoy our earthly delights and comfortsJeffrey Ford One of the ideas I wanted to explore in this novel was how characters are created in the reader’s mind when reading a novel We sit and read a good book and these characters as real as anyone we know spring up from the writing and inhabit our minds We follow them we know them and we are upset when the writer is not true to them A character can easily be formed in a readers mind with no physical description at all Merely the dialogue of a given character the manner in which he or she holds a cigarette what they do in a given situation forms an image We don’t need to be told about hair color the width of the nose the hue of the eyes to form an image In Mrs Charbuue the character of Piambo is never physically described and yet it is no problem for the reader to see him yet Mrs Charbuue who tells about her life and self than even Piambo is murky at best Readers have told me they can not get a clear view of her or if they do it keeps mutating shifting In studying the phenomenon of how and when images of characters are formed in the imagination from strings of words I learned a few tricks These I employed in order to block the reader’s view of the woman behind the screen even though as much information about her is given as for those the reader readily seesThe book is A fable a nightmare a vision a mystery

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Any circumstances see her So begins an astonishing journey into Mrs Charbuue's world and the world of 1893 New York society in this hypnotically compelling literary thrille. When I picked up this book I was expecting something along the lines of The Portrait of Dorian Gray There are a few similarities; in fact the Portrait of Dorian Gray is mentioned at the beginning of the book Both of them lift uestions they don’t really answer but that’s about as far as the similarities go This book is actually uite hard to define and classify it’s fiction and fantasy and mystery all at once and then when you look back on it there’s no real supernatural explanationWhat I found interesting than the plot and the progression of the story towards finding out about the Charbuues was the characters Pambo and Shenz but also the Man from the Euator and Borne the turdologist who reads the future in your past meals once digested if I may add I thought Ford did an amazing at capturing the real essence of those characters as his main character tries to capture Mrs Charbuues To get back to the Pambo at first I was surprised by the author’s style and his sometime heavy metaphors and I started wondering whether that was his style in general this is the first book I’ve read of him or if he was just portraying Pambo as an artist the book is a first person narration I think the latter comes closer to the truth in addition to that there’s Ford’s attempt and success at reproducing the late 19th century writing styleOverall I found intriguing and somewhat philosophical in the uestions it asks and the paradox it put forward I’m certainly going to give a try to Ford’s other books

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The Portrait of Mrs CharbuqueMrs Charbuue a wealthy and elusive woman who asks Piambo to paint her portrait though with one bizarre twist he may uestion her at length on any topic but he may not under. A clever premise a bored and unhappy portrait painter is hired by the mysterious Mrs Charbuue to paint her portrait with one catch; he can't ever see her From behind a screen she will answer any uestion but no peeking If he manages to capture her image he will win enough money to free him from the necessity of portraiture and allow him to be an artist again masterfully written The truly clever part of this is that we as readers are in the same position as the painter we only know Mrs Charbuue through the stories she tells and we make our badly misguided or flatly wrong in my case guesses and assumptions about her along with the main character