A Month in Siena
FROM THE PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING AND MAN BOOKER-SHORTLISTED AUTHOR
‘Hisham Matar has the quality all historians – of the world and the self – most need: he knows how to stand back and let the past speak’ Hilary Mantel
When Hisham Matar was nineteen years old he came across the Sienese School of painting for the first time. In the year in which Matar’s life was shattered by the disappearance of his father the work of the great artists of Siena seemed to offer him a sense of hope. Over the years since then, Matar’s feelings towards these paintings would deepen and, as he says, ‘Siena began to occupy the sort of uneasy reverence the devout might feel towards Mecca or Rome or Jerusalem’.
A Month in Siena is the encounter, twenty-five years later, between the writer and the city he had worshipped from afar. It is a dazzling evocation of an extraordinary place and its effect on the writer’s life. It is an immersion in painting, a consideration of grief and a profoundly moving contemplation of the relationship between art and the human condition.
‘Sparkles with brilliant observations on art and architecture, friendship and loss’ Guardian
‘An exquisite, deeply affecting book’ Evening Standard
‘As exquisitely structured as The Return, driven by desire, yearning, loss, illuminated by the kindness of strangers. A triumph’ Peter Carey
‘This book tells us much about the extraordinary power of art to inspire’ Literary Review