Posted by: Lisa Hill | December 28, 2015

Sensational Snippets: The Back of His Head, by Patrick Evans

I love every bit of this delicious satire, but I just had to share this snippet with you.  This is Peter Orr, guardian of the literary heritage of Raymond Lawrence, describing the painting of his hero in The Residence:

And here he is, framed over the extinct old front fireplace at 56 inches by 64, courtesy of Phyllis Button at her best, before the visionary period that signalled the onset of her dementia.  The painting hangs here and not on the long walls of the Blue Room as something to confront the public: they enter, pause, look at the buffet and (always) ask whether it is real or not (meaning, of course, whether it is authentic), then how much it is worth (I’ve no idea but I conjure up imaginary figures to make them gasp), and then turn right and – well, here he is in glorious Technicolour.

In truth, though, in far better: in Phyllis’s sparkling, even shocking end-times style, with its splatters and scrapes of oil straight from the tube, oranges and reds and (of course) bright blue, his defining colour, smeared on the canvas as if she were trying straight from the medium or through it or even around it, to the man himself, to Raymond Thomas Lawrence  – Nobel Laureate, Master, genius: martyr.  It’s an extraordinary work, full of life and all the evidence you need of the way a work of art can show its artifice while at the same time transcending the strokes and smears of which it is made, and (even if only for  a moment, even if only to particular eyes) make that impossible leap into life itself, hot, quivering and now.

Are you imagining it?  A great painting, of a literary genius, yes? …

… but the author is poking fun.  The subject of this painting is the title of the book.  And that’s all that you can see in the painting!

The Back of His Head, by Patrick Evans,
Victoria University Press, New Zealand, 2015,
Kindle edition, Loc. 150

 

 


Responses

  1. […] Peter Orr, who fancies himself as Raymond’s literary heir.  Peter, you may remember from my Sensational Snippet, is the one gushing over an abstract ‘portrait’ of Raymond which depicts only the back […]

    Like

  2. […] The Back of His Head (VUP 2015).  (See my review and a Sensational Snippet) […]

    Like

  3. […] Press) The Back of His Head by Patrick Evans (Victoria University Press) (See my review and a Sensational Snippet) Chappy by Patricia Grace (Penguin Random House) on my TBR The Chimes by Anna Smaill (Hodder & […]

    Like

  4. […] Back of His Head by Patrick Evans (Victoria University Press) (See my review and a Sensational Snippet) Chappy by Patricia Grace (Penguin Random House) See my review Coming Rain by Stephen Daisley […]

    Like

  5. […] Press) The Back of His Head by Patrick Evans (Victoria University Press) (See my review and a Sensational Snippet) Chappy by Patricia Grace (Penguin Random House) See my review The Chimes by Anna Smaill (Hodder […]

    Like


Please share your thoughts and join the conversation!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Categories

%d bloggers like this: