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The Flanders Panel

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Starting The Flanders panel today. Picked this book becaused I really enjoyed Arutro Perez Reverta's The Club Dumas (the book The Ninth Gate was based on). Hopefully this one will be as good.

Here's a mixed review from Publisher's Weekly. Mine to follow presently, depending on my reading speed:blush:

 

 

From Publishers Weekly

When an art restorer sets out to solve the riddle of a 15th-century masterpiece in this uneven but intriguing, multilayered thriller, she finds that one murder begets another, down through five centuries. Young, beautiful art expert Julia works in Madrid for the Prado as well as for various local galleries and auctioneers. Her painstaking cleaning of The Game of Chess , by Flemish master Pieter Van Huys, uncovers a Latin inscription--painted over by the artist--with the question "Who killed the knight?" Julia explores this mystery with the aid of Cesar, a middle-aged, homosexual antiques dealer who has become something of a surrogate father figure for her; Alvaro, her art professor ex-lover; and Munoz, a mildly antisocial chess master. When Alvaro dies--possibly murdered--Van Huys's riddle becomes relevant not only to the figures and chess pieces represented in his painting but also to Julia and her friends in this rather seamy art community. The author, a TV journalist in Spain, makes interesting use of the chessboard as metaphor for various human interactions, and his characters' sleuthy analysis of the painting's symbols and the details of its frozen chess game is clever and quite suspenseful. But the characters themselves are carelessly drawn cartoons--perhaps distorted in translation--and prone to rather sophomoric pronouncements on aesthetic and philosophical issues. And--highbrow pretensions aside--the whodunit aspect of the narrative is resolved unconvincingly, with disappointing conventionality.

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Phew! This one is already in my TBR stack. :D

I'm pretty sure that I saw most of the movie that was based on this book. Really interesting.

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Starting The Flanders panel today. Picked this book becaused I really enjoyed Arutro Perez Reverta's The Club Dumas (the book The Ninth Gate was based on).

 

Wow dogmatix! You like Johnny Depp who is one of my favourite actors now it sems you like Arturo Perez Revertes who is one of my favourite authors.

 

I haven't read The Flanders Panel but have read The Dumas Club, The Fencing Master and Queen of the South. Today I bought The Seville Communion which I can't wait to start. :D

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Starting The Flanders panel today. Picked this book becaused I really enjoyed Arutro Perez Reverta's The Club Dumas (the book The Ninth Gate was based on).

 

Wow dogmatix! You like Johnny Depp who is one of my favourite actors now it sems you like Arturo Perez Revertes who is one of my favourite authors.

 

I haven't read The Flanders Panel but have read The Dumas Club, The Fencing Master and Queen of the South. Today I bought The Seville Communion which I can't wait to start. :D

 

We must have been parted at birth! About 100 pages in right now I'll start a review soon. BTW The NInth Gate was on the tele 2X today. Heaven!

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Okay I'm about 1/2 through:

 

First off I love characters so what I'm going to start with may seem harsh, but read on.

 

The characters in The Flanders Panel are fairly 2 dimensional. I find them predictable and without depth almost characatures rather than fleshed out beings. The aging and cynical art dealer and her string of boy toys, the handsome and mysterious auction house owner, the fatherly - if gay- friend, the beautiful but single cigarette smoking heroine. However, not every book is a masterpiece and that being said I am enjoying this one nonetheless.

 

A solid Who Done It? with an interesting weaving of art and chess, the plot revolves around a famous Flemish painting The Chess Game by Pieter Van Huys.

 

Without dredging on about the plot (you can read about that below) Reverte' develops quite deftly the relationships between the painter, the painting, the subjects (of the painting) and the viewer. Each player has a unique relationship with the others. Dutch masters are known for their realism, their detail, and their exploration of light. (Go the the Smithsonian Museaum of Fine Art in DC to see a great collection) Reverte has a solid understanding of Dutch painting and he exploits it in his discussion of the scene in the painting and the mysterious imporatnce of both the mirror in the painting and that in the restorer's apartment.

 

You will not fall in love with Reverte's characters but so far this is a nice page turner and if you like a good mystery you will likely enjoy this book.

 

(More to follow in about 150 pages.)

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Finished up The Flander's Panel this afternoon. My overall impression would have to be mediocre at best. Reverte's characters become increasingly flat and predictable as this book plods along. With the one notable exception of Cesar, the ageing dandy who turns out to hold a few surprises. Still, the mystery is solid and the chess play interesting (this from someone knowing little more than the directions on which the pieces move). Reverte throws in some nice thematic play with mirror images and scenes within scenes but he seems to be overeaching his skill level here and his efforts fail to develp to their full potential. Really I have little more to say. It's so much easier writing a review for a book you enjoyed and found myself having to work to finish this one.

Want to try Reverte? - read The Club Dumas (much better book)

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