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Longlisted for the International Man Booker Prize A New York Times Top 10 Best Book of the Year An Economist Best Book of the Year Longlisted for the Best Translated Book Award The story of Urbain Martien lies con-tained in two notebooks he left behind when he died. In War and Turpentine, his grandson, a writer, retells his grandfather's story, the notebooks providing a key to the locked chambers of Urbain's memory.
But who is he, really? There is Urbain the child of a lowly church painter; Urbain the young man, who narrowly escapes death in an iron foundry; Urbain the soldier; and Urbain the man, married to his true love's sister, haunted by the war and his interrupted dreams of life as an artist. Wrestling with this tale, the grandson straddles past and present, searching for a way to understand his own part in both. As artfully rendered as a Renais-sance fresco, War and Turpentine paints an ex-traordinary portrait of a man, re-vealing how a single life can echo through the ages.
About the Author
STEFAN HERTMANS is an internationally acclaimed Flemish author. For more than twenty years he was a professor at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Ghent, where he wrote novels, poems, essays, and plays. War and Turpentine was awarded the prestigious AKO Literature Prize in 2014. Translated from the Dutch by David McKay.