The Italian Teacher by Tom Rachman

The Italian Teacher

Rome, 1955. The artists gather for a picture at a party in an ancient villa. Bear Bavinsky, creator of vast canvases, larger than life, is at the centre of the picture. His wife, Natalie, edges out of the shot.From the side of the room watches little Pinch - their son. At five years old he loves Bear almost as much as he fears him. After Bear abandons their family, Pinch will still worship him, striving to live up to the Bavinsky name; while Nata...

Details The Italian Teacher

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

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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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 ...
  • 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 ...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • Michael Holt
    It’s a wonderful book! The very beginning is a bit of a slog, but after that, it is a real page turner. It is somewhat depressing as you go through Pinch’s life, but always insightful, and even informative. And the ending is life-affirming. Highly recommended.
  • 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...
  • Jillian Doherty
    5 stars isn't enough - this story is as immersive as it is compelling. Following Pinch on his life's path leads you down hard roads that are as familiar as they are pervasive, illustrating one's control, and how others choices control your life. Tom Rachman craftily creates a Byron-like father, with whom Charles is tied to. The story of Pitch's life, is truly the story of their lives ~ obsessive, passive, cultivated stories that showcase a life, ...
  • Jayne
    Received this ARC from Westwinds Bookshop, Duxbury, MAA very enjoyable read. I was channeling Hemingway as Bear Bavinsky. Interesting take on the art world and its pretensions, prestige, connections and lack thereof.Familial relationships and the irreversible damage/ hurt we can inflict on each other.This book should sell well
  • Cian O hAnnrachainn
    He has a way with words, author Tom Rachman, a lyrical quality that entices a reader to suspend disbelief and enter the world of Pinch Bavinsky, the solitary hero of THE ITALIAN TEACHER.The protagonist is the son of a Jewish bundle of neuroses who hates her mother (a requisite character trait these days, it seems) and a narcissistic artist whose time comes and goes over the course of the novel. Religion does indeed figure in this novel, however, ...
  • Gwen Warren
    Having been a huge fan of Rachman's first book, The Imperfectionists, I was disappointed in this second novel. The characters were less pleasant, less believable, and really less interesting. The father, an artist supposedly, bordered on caricature at times. The mental health issues were kept vague and less than helpfully portrayed.A recent editorial by Rachman in the Globe and Mail on Brexit and the situation in the UK was a much more useful bit...
  • Eleanor
    What does it mean to be an artist? What constitutes art? Does genius excuse monstrosity? These are the questions posed by Tom Rachman's new novel, The Italian Teacher, out on 22 March. It reminded me, thematically, of The Moon and Sixpence (and it explicitly cites Paul Gaugin's abscondment to Tahiti and abandonment of his wife and children as an example of the cruelties that artistic genius commits and is excused for). The novel centers on Bear B...
  • Tina
    The Italian Teacher is the heartwarming story of art, family and being true to oneself. I enjoyed the writing and the story was very interesting; not like any that I've read before. I would recommend this book for fans of art, history and family dynamics. Edited to add: the cover of this book is gorgeous!Thank you to Viking Books and Goodreads for an advanced copy; all opinions are my own.
  • Jay bookworm
    Thank you First Reads for this electronic copy of the novel. It’s a sprawling story of Pinch who we first meet as a child living with his mother, Natalie and on occasion, his father Bear. Pinch’s father looms large over his life and his admiration for this father blocks his ability to believe in himself. The story is winding and we meet friends that also shaped his life. It is a beautiful story and there were times that Pinch’s self-reflect...
  • Paula
    Thanks to Goodreads and Penguin Random House Canada for a free copy of this book. The Italian Teacher is beautifully written, humorous at times and gut wrenching at others. This character-driven novel tells the story of Pinch Bavinsky, the son of two artists, Bear (a famous painter) and Natalie (a struggling ceramicist) and his lifelong struggle to earn his father’s approval. I found myself becoming so drawn into the story and engaged with Pinc...
  • Kristen Beverly
    I just absolutely love how Tom Rachman writes. He pulls me in & won’t let me go. This story is about Pinch, the son of a successful painter and a failed potter. Pinch himself falls somewhere in between, never really being successful & never really failing. The story that follows is Pinch’s life as he tries to prove to his father that he is successful. It can be heartwrenching at times, but it’s also funny and heart warming. Really great lit...
  • Lauren
    I was given this book as a Christmas gift and eager to read is set in 1950`s and 1960`s starts in Rome ,Italy.I grew up there in that era and i thought it was portrayed very well ,i was a teenager then and Roma was in the Dolce Vita era ,a gorgeous era when the city was at the height of movie making the Fellini era and the Sophia Loren era. Also the city attracted many artists and writers and poets. The story of the artist in this novel is ...
  • Bobbi
    An absorbing tale about an artist (Bear), his son (Pinch), Bear's various wives and children (minor characters), with fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpses into the art world. At times amusing, but often heartbreaking because of the son's desperate attempts to win his father's approval, the soul of the novel is Pinch's story which begins when he's five, and follows him over several decades.My thanks to the author, Andrea Schulz, and Viking for t...
  • Ashley Maynard
    I'm honestly not sure how I feel about this book; I neither loved it nor hated it; I was just sort of "meh" about the whole thing. I kept turning pages, anxious for the end---not because I wanted to find out what happened (well, partly, I kept hoping it'd get more interesting), but mostly so that I could move on to the next book. "The Italian Teacher" follows Charles "Pinch" Bavinsky, son of the famous artist, womanizer, and overall shitty father...
  • Sara
    I surprised myself by absolutely loving this book. As I began reading, I was afraid the story would be a dry piece about the art world and the characters that inhabit it. As I continued, though, I found myself engrossed in the story and especially in the main character, Pinch. Pinch is the son of acclaimed artist Bear Bavinsky, a larger than life figure, who fathers Pinch during his third and short marriage to a pottery artist, in Rome. While Pin...
  • Jake
    This is the second Tom Rachman book I have won from a goodreads giveaway. It I the story of Charles "Pinch" Bavinsky, the child of a famous larger than life, drinking, womanizing, pipe smoking, charming artist. Charles, like his mother, is overshadowed by his famous dad. He's not charming, good-looking, or any of the other things that help an artist achieve fame, but he still wants to be an artist. Instead he teaches Italian, having grown up in I...
  • Fernanda
    This story shows us the perfect example of why one shouldn't pay much attention to what other people say about our dreams and talents.Pinch grew up in Rome where both his parents worked as artists. His mother, Natalie, a pottery artist, and his father, renown painter Bear Bavinsky. While growing up in an environment full of art, he had this grand dream of becoming an artist. But, when Pinch shows his father what his works consists of, Mr. Bavinsk...