The Painter With The Hat Of Mallows
By Marcos Calveiro
Small Stations Press – £7.99
This very sunny, evocative book has been carefully, yet most deliberately written within the rather poignant parameters of being told through the inquisitive, innocent eyes of a teenage boy; purposefully sent by his mother to spend a few days in the country as a way of keeping him out of trouble.
The Painter With The Hat Of Mallows (cool title) is set in the town of Auvers-sur-Oisee, one hour north of Paris, where the boy finds life with his horribly sounding great-aunt unbearable; that is until the arrival of the Dutch master painter, Vincent van Gogh!
There’s love, along with a touch of both temptation and violence – yet is as far removed from the trajectory of the bible as one could possibly imagine. Although personally speaking, it’s the consistent, utterly toptastic, many one-liners that make this book such a joy to read.
Among many others, these include: ”She smiled, revealing a row of white teeth like cherry blossom..” ”Beauty resides in truth, in life just as it presents itself to us. All I do is try to reflect it with humility.,” ”the sadness will last forever.,” ”My soul is covered in the soot of scepticism. I’m an unbeliever and don’t expect anything any more.,” and of course, author Marcos Calveiro, quoting Van Gogh himself: ”Let’s not forget that small emotions are the great captains of our lives.”
The writing as a whole is captivating in a story-telling sort of way, whereby the reader can put the book down at any moment, and simply carry on from where one has left off without the slightest of hesitation nor need to go back re-read.
Declaring style of writing, which, at the end of the day, is what good fiction is all about isn’t it?
Interspersed with a number of black and white etchings, these 155 pages shed light on a terrific writer whose ability to inadvertently intoxicate, is as natural as sunshine itself: ”[…] they didn’t miss one ounce of his fervent discourse. It was happening again, before my very eyes: the apostle of absinthe haranguing a disbelieving public that slowly turned into a devoted congregation, captivated by his passion and sentiment.”