AUTHOR BACKSTORY: Since his days at university, Matar has been fascinated with the Sienese School of painting. The year he lost his father, when he was 20, Matar began to visit the National Gallery in London every day during his lunch break, spending the hour standing in front of a painting and studying it. Decades later, after writing his memoir The Return, about his father’s disapperance at the hands of the Qaddafi regime, he decided to revisit those artworks by spending a month in their city of origin: Siena, Italy. The entire time, he kept notes with the thought he would one day write about this experience, with the paintings and city becoming windows onto his shifting emotional and psychological landscape.
AWARD-WINNING AND CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED AUTHOR: Matar’s most recent book, The Return, won the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. It was named one of the best books of the year by The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, and the Financial Times. His works have received widespread critical acclaim in outlets all over the world.
AUTHOR PLATFORM: Matar has appeared on Fresh Air and written pieces for The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Guardian, The London Review of Books, and the Financial Times.
FULL-COLOR ILLUSTRATIONS THROUGHOUT: This small, elegant, and beautifully designed book will feature full-color reproductions of the artworks examined by Matar. Also includes FULL-COLOR ENDPAPERS.
“As exquisitely structured as The Return, driven by desire, yearning, loss, illuminated by the kindness of strangers…A Month in Siena is a triumph.”—Peter Carey
“Exact and graceful… A Month in Siena gives us [Hisham] Matar turning his intense gaze on another landscape entirely…. It is arguing for the power of art to answer a longing to be ‘recognized,’ while bringing about the rediscovery of ‘our own powers of remembrance,’ a pastime that demands the closest possible attention.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Matar is a master of pellucid statement that seems simple yet is exactly right…. He is equally eloquent about the paintings he loves…. This is an exquisite, deeply affecting book, one in which an experience of dislocation and loss is conveyed in prose that flows so clearly and gracefully it finds continuities and connections all the time.”—Evening Standard
“A sweet, short mediation on art, grief, and life… A Month in Siena is a brilliant miniature, a fugue but also a release. Its intellectual and emotional depth is never forced, never exclusive. Concerning grief as much as art, it is a considered attempt to explain both, while allowing that nothing can be contained fully within a single book, painting, city, or life.”—The Arts Desk
“Through meditations on mortality, loss, government, cruelty, the Black Death, the inclusive camaraderie of the Palio and Siena’s marketplace, Matar shares moments of refreshing solitude.”—BBC
“[A Month in Siena] tells us much about the extraordinary power of art to inspire…. But this book is about so much more than the medieval art of Siena.”—Literary Review
“An exquisite reflection on the intersection of life and art.”—RTÉ
“A quiet meditation on art and life…[a] thoughtful, sensitive extended essay about [Matar’s] visit to Siena, where he ruminates and reflects on paintings, faith, love, and his wife, Diana…a beautifully written, pensive, and restorative memoir.”—Kirkus Reviews
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