I love novels that read like short stories. I don’t like it when the plot is so complex that my excitement reaches its peak too early. When I read a book like that, I’m just waiting to find out what happens in the end, not enjoying the journey. The book I read before this, The Boy Who Fell Down Exit 43, was like that. In the last two chapters, you’re just waiting for resolution, no longer anticipating what could happen.
The Court Painter’s Apprentice was nothing like that. In many ways, I found its telling old-fashioned, and I liked that. I liked how different incidents come together to create a story. There was a build-up with no unnecessary crests and troughs. One story after another, with very few sub-plots. Didn’t Aristotle say that that was the making of good literature?
A young painter’s talent is discovered when he is still very young. Apprenticed to Hugo, the leading painter of the times, young Johann rises to prominence swiftly. But gossip speaks about the young apprentice’s magical capabilities …
The power of art has always been a mystery; I think of The Portrait of Dorian Gray as I write this.
Johann has the talent to tap into the glorious unknown. Yet, what does this power have in store for him?