Mr Gwyn is the fourth book I read by Alessandro Baricco, and after every single book, I discovered that I admired the author more. Mr Gwyn, in particular, was so good to me after all the nonsense and empty books I read that I found myself grateful for literature again. Mr Gwyn is one of those books that we get lost in and find ourselves again and in a much better state when it is over.
Mr Gwyn is a very successful author based in London. However, one day he lists fifty-two things he does not want to do anymore and submits it to the newspaper he is the author of as his next article. At the end of this list, he stated that he would no longer write a book. Despite the insistence of his manager, who is also his best friend, Mr Gwyn is determined not to write anymore. However, after a while, as the words float around his mind, he does not know what to do and falls into a vast void.
Why would an author become an author in the first place? Could an author just stop writing? Well, what does Mr Gwyn do to get out of this vast void? Well, the real story starts here. The former author decides to become a copyist. He will now copy people’s portraits. To do this, he hires a rather unconventional studio and asks people to stand in front of him for thirty or so days, naked and uninterested. What you will read in Mr Gwen are all unusual but realistic as well. An incredible story full of exciting characters awaits you in both the chaotic and calm environment of London. I am sure you will love it very much. Enjoy!
Mr Gwyn: After celebrated author Jasper Gwyn suddenly and publicly announces that he will never write another book, he embarks on a strange new career path as a “copyist,” holding thirty-day sittings in a meticulously appointed room and producing, at the end, brief but profoundly rich portraits in prose. The surprising, beautiful, and even frightening results are received with rapture by their subjects—among them Gwyn’s devoted assistant, Rebecca; a beautiful fabric importer; a landscape painter; Gwyn’s own literary agent; two wealthy newlyweds; a tailor to the Queen; and a very dangerous nineteen-year-old.
Then Mr Gwyn disappears, leaving behind only a short note to his assistant—and the portraits. As Rebecca studies his words, she realizes that the mystery is larger than the simple fact of Gwyn’s whereabouts, and she begins to unravel a lifetime’s worth of clues left by a man who saw so much but said so little, a man whose solitude masked a heart as hungry as hers.
Alessandro Baricco, born January 25, 1958, is an Italian writer, director and performer. His novels have been translated into a wide number of languages. Baricco was born in Turin, Italy. He has earned degrees in philosophy (under Gianni Vattimo) and in piano.
Baricco published essays on music criticism: Il genio in fuga (1988) on Gioachino Rossini, and L’anima di Hegel e le mucche del Wisconsin (“Hegel’s Soul and the Cows of Wisconsin”, 1992) on the relation between music and modernity. He subsequently worked as musical critic for La Repubblica and La Stampa, and hosted talk shows on Rai Tre.
Baricco debuted as a novelist with Castelli di rabbia (translated as Lands of Glass) in 1991. In 1993 he co-founded a creative writing school in Turin, naming it Scuola Holden after J. D. Salinger’s Holden Caulfield. The Scuola Holden hosts a variety of courses on narrative techniques including screenwriting, journalism, novels and short stories.
In the following years, his fame grew throughout Europe, with his works topping the Italian and French best-seller lists. Larger recognition followed the adaptation of his theatrical monologue Novecento into the movie The Legend of 1900, directed by Giuseppe Tornatore. He has also worked with the French band Air, releasing “City Reading”, a mix of the band’s music with Baricco’s reading of his novel City. Baricco directed the critically acclaimed film Lezione 21 on Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.
Baricco resides in his hometown, Turin. He has two sons. He and his girlfriend Gloria Campaner live together.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: