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Med huvudet före : roman (1999)

av Michael Frayn

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MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
1,6904510,399 (3.58)60
A British comedy in which academic Martin Clay is asked by a boorish country squire to assess his paintings. Clay spots what he suspects is a Bruegel and so begins a tale of lies and concealment as he schemes to separate the painting from its owner. By the author of Now You Know.
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» Se även 60 omnämnanden

engelska (42)  nederländska (1)  spanska (1)  Alla språk (44)
Visa 1-5 av 44 (nästa | visa alla)
Lost old art work found in dusty old corner. Is one actually valuable?
  JimandMary69 | Aug 21, 2023 |
I found this book hard work to get through. The premise seemed to suggest a fast-paced comic adventure and the fact it has art as its theme really appealed to me. However I had a number of problems with this book. I didn't like the main character. He came across as a bit too pompous and I didn't enjoy being in his head. And he was so indecisive, reaching a decision, changing his mind and going in circles, it became frustrating and at times I lost what his actual train of thought was. The story itself was a good one, and could have been enjoyable, but it became clogged with essays about art history that interrupted the story a bit too much - I didn't actually read these parts and didn't feel that I'd missed anything. Not that I don't have an interest in the history of art, I really do, but I felt as though I was reading two books at the same time. It just didn't work for me. ( )
  Triduana | Jan 25, 2022 |
witty, lazy,
  machteld | Oct 25, 2021 |
Enjoyed the Bruegel mystery tour very much, and the first third of the book while it was setting the scene. But for me the farce of the last third of the book didn't really succeed and I did skip over quite a bit of the last few chapters, wanting to hear the plot but not all the detail. ( )
  Ma_Washigeri | Jan 23, 2021 |
Martin Clay, is a philosopher who moves in to a country cottage with his art-historian wife and infant daughter on the pretext that getting away from the hustle of bustle of London will mean that he will finally be able to knuckle down and work on the book that he has never really got started.

On arrival into the country they are invited to have dinner with their neighbours, the Churts. The Churts' estate is run down and Tony Churt is seemingly always on the lookout on ways to make quick bit cash, and has an ulterior motive in asking them over. Tony wants the Clays to have a look at some old paintings that he wants to unload. He doesn't trust the big auction houses and hopes the Clays can give a valuation and find a way of selling them without him having to pay fees or commission.

There is a huge and ghastly picture by Giordano that Tony and three minor Dutch scenes. However, it is last painting that Martin is shown that he becomes really interested in. He believes that this a missing masterpiece by Pieter Bruegel. Afraid that the Churts will simply sell it to the highest bidder and that it will disappear in to a private collection somewhere abroad and wanting the renown as it's discoverer, Martin decides that he won't tell the the Churts what he suspects and hatches a plan to get it for himself.

Martin's wife Kate isn't convinced about it's authenticity so he sets out to prove his theory whilst at the same time trying to figure out how to get Tony to part with it without arousing his suspicion. Martin thinks that Tony is just a gullible country bumpkin but he soon learns that he more devious than he initially thought. To complicate matters even further Tony's wife, Laura, starts to make sexual advances towards Martin which only puts further stress on the Clay's own marriage.

The story quickly turns into a rather simple and rather entertaining little farce running alongside a more serious examination into the painter's life and the circumstances that might have led to this particular piece of work's disappearance, along the way giving an insight into a turbulent period of Dutch history. One that I for one knew nothing about.

The overall plot is perhaps a little thin and slightly out of balance (a little too weighted towards the art history) but on the whole I felt that Frayn juggled these two very different story-lines extremely well. The farce element kept me amused whilst the theories and history made for fascinating reading. The ending when it arrived was well executed and overall I found this a brisk and entertaining read that,if asked, would certainly recommend it. ( )
  PilgrimJess | Aug 22, 2020 |
Visa 1-5 av 44 (nästa | visa alla)
"A formidably learned, unfortunately ponderous comic romp from the British playwright (whose Noises Off is a contemporary classic) and novelist (Now You Know, 1993, etc.)."
tillagd av bookfitz | ändraKirkus Reviews (May 20, 2010)
 
Headlong is built on this kind of premise, a dizzying vision or speculation which takes over the whole modest world of the central character. He is Martin Clay, a philosophy lecturer on sabbatical, diligently avoiding work on the book he is supposed to be writing on nominalism, and he is convinced that his disorderly neighbour in the country has, but doesn’t know he has, a lost Bruegel among the mountains of family junk in his rotting ancestral pile. The trick is to remove the painting from its owner without letting him know what he’s got, and this is how Martin thinks he will do it. It’s a piece of accelerated delusion. Groucho would have been proud of him.
 
"Frayn, a highly successful playwright (Noises Off) as well as a novelist of note (A Landing on the Sun; Now You Know), is an odd combination of skilled farceur and scholar, and these strands in his work seem somewhat at odds in this new novel, his first in six years."
tillagd av bookfitz | ändraPublishers Weekly (Aug 30, 1999)
 
Martin's scholarly detective work is the heart of the story, putting it in a genre that includes A. S. Byatt's ''Possession,'' Carol Shields's ''Swann'' and Tom Stoppard's ''Arcadia.'' In the course of Martin's researches, we learn a great deal about Bruegel and the Netherlands of the 16th century -- political struggle, Spanish imperialism, the Inquisition. Frayn presents many intriguing theories of Bruegel's relationship to his time: did he simply ignore it -- art as escapism? Did he propagandize? Did he conspire with the nationalists? Did he collaborate with their oppressors? Or was he, as Martin briefly considers, ''a hired hack of the Counter-Reformation?'' That this research is so exciting is Frayn's great triumph. He's made a funny, fast-moving book out of a man reading other books.
 
This intersection of the art market, the class system, and what might be termed the English or British character furnishes an ideal locus for Michael Frayn. In his essays and in his plays and screenplays (Noises Off and Clockwise being notable here) he has raised an edifice of gentle but by no means innocuous satire of his fellow countrymen... The great secret about the English rural idyll – an idyll most harshly dissipated in Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs – is that the bucolic scene is very often one of cruelty, surliness, and resentment, rife with nbreeding and inefficiency, and populated quite largely by people who would, had they only the talent or the resources, do anything to sell up and move to the city. (Without elaboration, Martin alludes to ‘the lake that collects in the dip by the wood where we found the dead tramp’.) We are, in any case, very swiftly presented with a truly rebarbative example of the squire at his worst.
tillagd av SnootyBaronet | ändraNew York Review of Books, Christopher Hitchens
 

» Lägg till fler författare (8 möjliga)

Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Frayn, Michaelprimär författarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Bown, JaneAuthor photographmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Breugel, PieterOmslagmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Charras, PierreÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Jong, Sjaak deÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat

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I have a discovery to report.
(French translation) J'ai fait une découverte. Le monde doit le savoir.
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I bless Lufthansa, and my admirable quickness and recklessness in pressing my refresher, paper napkin and even my handkerchief on her when the old-fashioned fountain pen she was using leaked over her; and the happy marriage that followed two months, one week and three days later, when she used her fountain pen once again, and let me use it as well because I'd forgotten to bring anything to write with.
Odd, though, all these dealings of mine with myself. First I’ve agreed a principle with myself, now I’m making out a case to myself, and debating my own feelings and intentions with myself. Who is this self, this phantom internal partner, with whom I’m entering into all these arrangements? (I ask myself.)
The only way I can fulfill my pledge is to study my picture until I find what I’m looking for. The only way I can study it is to acquire it. The only way I can acquire it is to break my pledge.
An antinomy, as we call it back in the department.
Where is the country? Good question. I privately think it begins around Edgware, and goes on until Cape Wrath, but then I don’t know much about it. Kate’s rather a connoisseur of the stuff, though, and it’s not the country for her, not the real country, until we’ve driven for at least a couple of hours, and turned off the motorway, and got onto the Lavenage road. Even here she’s cautious, and I can see what she means. It’s all a bit neat and organised still, as if it were merely a representation of the country in an exhibition. … I share Kate’s unease about this. We don’t want to drive a hundred miles out of London only to meet people who have driven a hundred miles out of London to avoid meeting people like us.
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A British comedy in which academic Martin Clay is asked by a boorish country squire to assess his paintings. Clay spots what he suspects is a Bruegel and so begins a tale of lies and concealment as he schemes to separate the painting from its owner. By the author of Now You Know.

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