The Italian Teacher by Tom Rachman

The Italian Teacher

Rome, 1955The artists are gathering together for a photograph. In one of Rome's historic villas, a party is bright with near-genius, shaded by the socialite patrons of their art. Bear Bavinsky, creator of vast, masculine, meaty canvases, is their god. Larger than life, muscular in both figure and opinion, he blazes at art criticism and burns half his paintings. He is at the centre of the picture. His wife, Natalie, edges out of the shot.From the ...

Details The Italian Teacher

TitleThe Italian Teacher
Release DateFeb 20th, 2018
GenreFiction, Historical, Historical Fiction, Art, Cultural, Italy, Literary Fiction

Reviews The Italian Teacher

  • Elyse
    I read “The Imperfections”, by Tom Rachman, with my local book club ways back - and wasn’t crazy about it in the same way other members in our group were — I found it dry and dull ...I never wrote review after our group discussion. I just forgot about it. And - then - this week I was given this lovely Advance copy of “The Italian Teacher”. And WOW.... what a completely different experience from the same author.I thoroughly enjoyed thi...
  • Angela M
    This novel is in many way about art, the art of an eccentric, self centered, overbearing, unfaithful man, a painter appropriately named Bear Bavinsky. It’s about the artist who is famous and yet shuns the critics and the galleries, destroys his work if it is not how he wants it to be .There are certainly some thought provoking questions raised about art and the relationship the artist has with his work, about creativity. For whom is the art cre...
  • Jeffrey Keeten
    ”How amazing my mother and father were! All those years, all their bullying doubts, all in the paltry hope that strangers might someday stand before their work and look, probably no longer than a few seconds. That’s all they were fighting for.What driven lives!”Charles “Pinch” Bavinsky is the Roman spawn of a Canadian sculptor and a celebrated American artist. Bear Bavinsky achieved his reputation in the 1950s by painting body parts, ne...
  • Katie
    An underlying premise of this novel is that personality is just as important as talent in achieving fame. TV perhaps bears this theory out. Pinch, the novel's main protagonist has very little personality. He's completely overshadowed by his artist father, Bear Bavinsky. Bear conforms to just about every popular cliché of the artist - an egotistical womaniser who uses his fidelity to his art as a means of blundering through life like a self-indul...
  • Theresa Alan
    “The moneyed all speak of art, the artists all speak of money.” This is an unusual novel. Usually, the protagonist has a goal and has to overcome obstacles to achieve that goal. In this book, none of main characters are admirable. Bear Bavinsky is a celebrated artist when the story begins in 1955, but he treats the endless stream of women in his life like crap and ignores the seventeen children he has with wives and girlfriends and mistresses...
  • Cheri
    ” Yes, they’re sharing a drink they call lonelinessBut it’s better than drinkin’ alone” Piano Man Songwriter: Billy JoelThere’s quite a bit of traveling about the world in this story from Rome to London, Toronto, New York, France, and Pennsylvania. There’s also a bit of traveling through time, as this begins in 1955, with stops along the way, and ending in 2018. There’s another journey, as well: to the world of Art, artists, and...
  • Tammy
    Rachman is a marvel. You meet the main character, Pinch, as a child and follow him throughout his life. Pinch’s father, Bear, is a negligent father, drinker and womanizer in addition to being a much admired and successful artist. As Rachman puts it, “But your relatives judge you relatively.” After trying and failing poor Pinch just can’t measure up to his father’s greatness and lives a small life, but he is determined to leave a legacy....
  • Marialyce
    4.5 gloriously written starsBeing a parent is a hard job, perhaps the hardest one out there. It requires one to be there always for another person, a guide, a mentor, a friend, a person whose love is never questioned. For Charles, also known as Pinch, the lack of his father's attention plays havoc with this young boy's life. Pinch is a shy boy, loved by his mother, Natalie, but forever seeking the attention and approval of his artist father, Bear...
  • Bam
    Bear Bavinsky is an acclaimed American artist living in Rome in 1955 with his young Canadian wife Natalie and their little boy Charles, nicknamed Pinch. Bear is a huge man in both body and personality who is totally focused on his work: "My real life, it's when I'm working. It's entirely there. The rest--everything--is flimflam. And that's tragedy."Bear is a perfectionist who burns any painting that displeases him. His vision for his art is that ...
  • Faith
    I've read and loved two books by this author and I was disappointed to find that I didn't love this one. I didn't hate it, but it was just ok for me. Bear Bavinsky was a larger than life painter who, for a while, was quite popular. He was also an irresponsible narcissist who had countless wives and girlfriends and 17 children. Bear's appeal to these women (other than his fame) was never made clear to me. The protagonist of this book is his son Pi...
  • Rebecca Foster
    Charles “Pinch” Bavinsky is just an Italian teacher, though as a boy in Rome in the 1950s–60s he believed he would follow in the footsteps of his sculptor mother and his moderately famous father, Bear Bavinsky, who painted close-ups of body parts. When this dream was shattered, he turned to criticism, getting art history degrees and planning to preserve his father’s reputation by writing his authorized biography. But along the way somethi...
  • Ron Charles
    “The Italian Teacher” confirms Rachman’s reputation as a shepherd of lost souls. It tells the story of Pinch, a man whose whole life is overshadowed by his father, the great 20th-century artist Bear Bavinsky. Bear is a fictional character, but Rachman takes scissors and paste to the museum catalogue just as Rachel Kushner did in her wonderful 2013 novel, “The Flamethrowers.” He paints Bear so cleverly into the canon of contemporary art ...
  • Liz
    I enjoyed the writing in The Italian Teacher, and appreciated Pinch as a detailed and authentically flawed character, but I couldn’t seem to engage with the story until about the last third of the book. Nearly his entire life Pinch has pursued approval from the one person who is too self-important to ever grant it -- his father, artist Bear Bavinsky. Though Pinch is ten times the person Bear is, he lives in obscurity, kept there in large part b...
  • Chrissie
    I can see that many will enjoy this novel, but it did not fit me. I will explain why in the hope that you may determine if perhaps it will fit you. We follow the lives of Bear Bavinsky, an artist, and Charles Bavinsky, his son. Charles is born in 1950 and we follow him from his childhood in Rome through to his death in 2011. His father dies a decade earlier. Loose ends are tied up and the book concludes with a retrospective of Bear’s artwork at...
  • Michael
    This is a warm-hearted tale of a son trying his whole life to make his relationship with his father work towards a healthy balance for his own identity. In addition to insights about the psychology of fathers and sons, the story told provides a great window on the interplay between authentic creativity in art and its corruption by the incestuous enterprises of marketing, journalism, and academic study.Charles (“Pinch”) grows up in Rome in the...
  • Nancy
    The Italian Teacher is destined to be one of my favorite reads of the year.Tom Rachman's character Pinch is the son of a philandering, larger-than-life artist, Bear Bavinsky. Bear is charming and unreliable.Pinch spends his entire life trying to get his dad's attention and approval. He imitates his dad, smoking a pipe early. In a one day lesson Bear teachers Pinch the fundamentals of painting and Pinch dreams of following in his father's footstep...
  • Marjorie
    Pinch’s parents are both artists. His mother, Natalie, is an eccentric maker of pottery and his father is the renowned painter, Bear Bavinsky. Bear is completely self-absorbed and only cares about his art. His son strives for his attention and praise. When Pinch makes his own effort at being an artist, his father tells him that he, Pinch, will never be an artist and Pinch believes him. Bears abandons Pinch and his mother in Italy and is off to ...
  • Libby Chester
    ‘The Italian Teacher’ by Tom Rachman is a beautiful novel about art and relationships. Opening in Rome, 1955, the main protagonist is Pinch Bavinsky, five years old. Pinch’s Dad is the famous artist Bear Bavinsky, larger than life, and aware of his affect on lesser folk. Natalie, Pinch’s mother, meets Bear when she’s barely twenty. Although she struggles to become known for her pottery creations, her greatest accomplishment seems to be ...
  • Robert Blumenthal
    I have a special affection for books that are about the visual arts, everything from historical fiction about the likes of Georgia O'Keeffe or Edward Degas and Mary Cassatt, and books about the modern art world with fictional artists. This book is in the latter field, and it is one of the better of its kind. It is both a story of art and its creation and promotion. It has a major theme that is akin to the phrase "if a tree falls in the forest and...
  • Celia
    The Italian Teacher, Tom Rachman’s latest offering, seems to be a hard book to like. If you look at the latest rating on Goodreads, 3.52, you might be under impressed. I am glad that I was not influenced by this number, as I was genuinely entertained by the characters, the plot and the writing. Perhaps it is the plethora of dysfunctional characters that is unsatisfactory. The book is really about Charles ‘Pinch’ Bavinsky, son of a narcissis...
  • Marianne
    “Pinch doesn’t know. But he supposes that this is how culture works: the taste-makers call something important until it becomes so, making themselves important in the process.”The Italian Teacher is the fourth novel by British-born journalist and author, Tom Rachman. Charlie Bavinsky (Pinch to his parents) always seemed to exist in the shadow of his father, renowned mid-twentieth century artist, Bear Bavinsky. Pinch was always trying to mea...
  • Lisa
    [4+] The Italian Teacher is a thought-provoking novel about a son's relationship with his self-centered artist father, Bear Bavinsky. It is also a fascinating commentary about the creation of art and the art world. Tom Rachman is a fine, fine writer.Charles (Pinch) Bavinsky is an odd but sympathetic character. I rooted for him, as his father, even from a distance, kept crushing him. I felt frustrated by Pinch's inertia and wanted him to make more...
  • Ellen
    I've had Tom Rachman's debut novel, The Imperfectionists, on my Want to Read list since it was published to great reviews in 2010, but have neglected it in favor of other books. In two days, I have consumed his latest, The Italian Teacher, and will now move The Imperfectionists to the top of my list.It took awhile for me to get hooked. Rachman's protagonist is Pinch Bavinsky, and we meet him as a child and then follow him through all the phases o...
  • Penny (Literary Hoarders)
    Wow, I can't say I cared for this one at all. It was such a highly anticipated read too, especially after the love I had for The Rise & Fall of Great Powers, I was expecting the same amount of love to pour out of me for The Italian Teacher. Sadly, that just wasn't the case. The gorgeous cover doesn't match the bland story and unlikeable everyone inside. :-(
  • Lolly K Dandeneau
    via my blog:'When she was living here with Pinch alone, Natalie heard from nobody. Then Bear moved to Rome and the invitations gushed in.'1950’s Rome, successful artist Bear Bavinsky is the center of his wife Natalie (Natty) and Son Pinch’s (Charles) lives. It’s a whirlwind when he is with them, and like death when he is absent. Natty longs to be taken seriously as an artist, but ‘lady potters’ are...
  • Jamie Jones Hullinger
    I did not read the first book by Tom Rachman entitled The Imperfectionists. Nor have I read anything else by Rachman so this is my only experience with his work.  I must admit.  I am intrigued.  What I am intrigued most by was the description of art and the characters.  Oh the characters were so amazingly developed.  I could not decided if I liked, hated or completely ambivalent of the characters.  The main character is Charles, Pinch, Ba...
  • Heather
    It's almost difficult to explain why I ended up loving this novel so; it wrapped a spell around me when I was almost halfway through and then just left me enraptured until the end, and I hadn't even been really enjoying it all that much before that. But by the end I was so sorry to leave its world that I've been in a bit of a book coma ever since...nothing else seems quite right as a follow-up because it's been a long time since I've been so enth...
  • Perry
    4.5writing review