Pierre-François Chaumont has always considered himself a collector; his favorite destination the auction house across the street from his place of work. When he discovers the pièce de résistance for his collection, a painting with an uncanny resemblance to himself, he can’t wait to show it to his wife. After she scoffs at the painting, refusing to acknowledge the resemblance he sets out to prove her wrong. On his journey to discovering the painting’s origins, he’s offered something more priceless than the nicest antique, a chance to start his life anew.
Laurain’s writing is concise yet insightful. His descriptions of Paris and the countryside whisk readers away, immersing them into Pierre’s cozy world of fine art and cigarettes. The pace feels unhurried and natural, almost as if Laurain stumbled upon this story and is following it and making each new discovery with us. It’s refreshing to have the story lead readers along without feeling forced into each new twist and turn.
For those unfamiliar with Laurain’s previous work, the story will captivate through its unique charm. There is an element of whimsy however overall the story is grounded in reality. While there is a mystery at the heart of the story, it guides the story rather than consuming it. The concern isn’t so much answering this mystery, but wondering where it will lead. Overall, The Portrait is a quick read that will leave readers eager for more of Laurain’s delightful works.
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