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The Painting

Publication date 15 July 2021

A young Hungarian woman confronts her family’s past in an engrossing quest for a stolen painting

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The Painting by Alison Booth 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

‘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

‘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

When Anika Molnar flees her home country of Hungary not long before the break-up of the Soviet Union, she carries only a small suitcase - and a beautiful and much-loved painting, of an auburn-haired woman in a cobalt blue dress, from her family's hidden collection. Arriving in Australia, Anika moves in with her aunt in Sydney, and the painting hangs in pride of place in her bedroom.

But one day it is stolen in what seems to be a carefully planned theft, and Anika's carefree life takes a more ominous turn. Sinister secrets from her family's past and Hungary's fraught history cast suspicion over the painting's provenance, and she embarks on a gripping quest to uncover the truth.

Hungary's war-torn past contrasts sharply with Australia's bright new world of opportunity in this moving and compelling mystery from acclaimed novelist Alison Booth.

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