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by Alison Booth

Publication Date:

15 July, 2021

‘Offers a compelling and incisive portrait of Anika — a wise and wary exile from an oppressive regime — as she struggles to regain her trust in humanity’ Michelle Wildgen, author of Bread and Butter

THE PAINTING tells the story of a traumatised young woman who confronts her family’s past in an engrossing quest for a stolen painting.

Sydney in early 1989, not long before the breakup of the Soviet Union. Anika, a traumatised young immigrant from Hungary, inherits a portrait of an auburn-haired woman. Could it be of value, and if so, how did something so precious end up in her family’s possession? Anika takes it to a leading gallery where the curators identify it as being the work of the renowned French Impressionist artist Rocheteau. Shortly afterwards, however, the painting is stolen.

Soon Anika receives a shock about its origins that links her ever closer to the two men she met the day she had the painting assessed, the curator Daniel and the enigmatic Jonno. As these men insinuate their way into her life, her suspicions about their motives – and her Hungarian grandmother’s integrity – grow ever more pressing. Only by returning to Budapest can Anika finally track down the truth and confront the ghosts of her grandmother’s past.

‘Deceptively simple, deeply human, The Painting lights the shadows of dispossession in Hungarian immigrant lives in Australia through art and romance, meat and menace, totalitarianism, provenance and Pest.’ Tom Flood, author of Oceana Fine

‘An enthralling and intelligently-plotted novel whose lead characters are drawn with such depth they could be sitting on the sofa beside you. Their lives are movingly woven together by the painting that means something quite different to each of them.’ Ann McGrath, historian and author of Illicit Love


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