Marie's job as a guard at the National Gallery in London offers her the life she always wanted, one of invisibility and quiet contemplation. But amid the hushed corridors of the Gallery surge currents of history and violence, paintings whose power belies their own fragility. There also lingers the legacy of her great-grandfather Ted, the museum guard who slipped and fell moments before reaching the suffragette Mary Richardson as she took a blade to one of the gallery's masterpieces on the eve of the First World War.
After nine years there, Marie begins to feel the tug of restlessness. A decisive change comes in the form of a winter trip to Paris, where, with the arrival of an uninvited guest and an unexpected encounter, her carefully contained world is torn open.
Asunder is a rich, resonant novel of beguiling depths and beautiful strangeness, exploring the delicate balance between creation and destruction, control and surrender.
It is to Chloe Aridjis' enormous credit that she makes the daily machinations of a museum guard riveting reading. Marie’s days might be outwardly repetitive and even boring but the reader sees her mind working in inventive and interesting ways...As Marie tries to make peace with her internal struggles, there’s a tightly wound energy that’s apparent on every wonderful page, just waiting to leap up and hold the reader in its welcome embrace. (Reviewed by Poornima Apte).
Starred Review. Aridjis's intelligent prose makes this slight story into something dramatic and affecting, completely coherent and oddly irresistible. It is a brilliant book.
Starred Review. Dark and peculiar, simultaneously sinister and playful, Aridjis' modern gothic vision will charm those prepared to linger in her cabinet of curiosities.
Diana Athill, author of Stet and Somewhere Towards the End
Brilliantly exact and disconcerting, Asunder exists with an intensity stronger than that of most novels. Reading it is absorbing and enlarging to the imagination.
Eva Hoffman, author of Lost in Translation
Chloe Aridjis writes about sensations at the edges of perception, capturing experiences rarely included in fiction. A surprising sensibility and an effortlessly original voice.
As Chloe Aridjis explains in Asunder, a painting too must obey the laws of physics - in that it slowly - ever so slowly - descends from "order" (the finished painting) into disorder. This "disorder" is brought about by a series of cracks in the paint or varnish that forms a network over time. This network is called craquelure (pronounced crack-lure). The cracks are formed as result of drying forces, responses to humidity and a number of other environmental factors. As time goes on, paint dries and undergoes shrinkage which, in turn, creates cracks. The pressure on these paintings is higher at the edges than it is in the center, which means cracks are more pronounced at the edges of a painting. Even the human touch can set off a series of invisible cracks.
Since craquelure is a function of the kind of paint used (oil, watercolor, acrylic); the medium it is painted on and the thickness of the...
A Man Called Intrepid author dies aged 89(Dec 03 2013) William Stevenson, a journalist and author who drew on his close ties with intelligence sources to write two best-selling books in the 1970s, A Man Called...