This is what we long for: the profound pleasure of being swept into vivid new worlds, worlds peopled by characters so intriguing and real that we can't shake them, even long after the story's told.
In this extraordinary audiobook, The Last Painting of Sara de Vos, Australian writer Dominic Smith brilliantly bridges the historical and the contemporary, tracking a collision course between a rare landscape by a female Dutch painter of the Golden Age, an inheritor of the work in 1950s Manhattan, and a celebrated Australian art historian who painted a forgery of it in her youth.
In 1631, Sara de Vos is admitted to the Guild of St. Luke in Holland as a master painter, the first woman to be so honoured. 300 years later, only one work attributed to de Vos is known to remain - a haunting winter scene, At the Edge of a Wood, which hangs over the Manhattan bed of a wealthy descendant of the original owner.
An Australian grad student, Ellie Shipley, struggling to stay afloat in New York, agrees to paint a forgery of the landscape, a decision that will haunt her. Because now, half a century later, she's curating an exhibition of female Dutch painters, and both versions threaten to arrive.
As the three threads intersect with increasing and exquisite suspense, The Last Painting of Sara de Vos mesmerises while it grapples with the demands of the artistic life, showing how the deceits of the past can forge the present.
©2016 Dominic Smith (P)2016 Macmillan Audio USA
A strange choice of narration given that the author is Australian and so is one of the main characters. The narrator is wonderful as a narrator of American characters and I enjoyed his pace and tenor but it isn't necessary to try and speak in an Australian accent. I don't read in accents because I can remember the nationality of the characters. Such a woeful Australian accent and spoilt an intelligent and beautiful telling. Of course I am Australian. We listen too.
For a book with a strong Australian slant there should have been a reader who can do an Australian accent. This attempt at an Australian accent was so bad I could not finish what is otherwise a great bok.
Lovely development of the story line, and beautifully crafted descriptions of the use of light in paintings. The only issue is the incredibly poor Australian accent used by the reader - closer to South African if anything - it rankled all the way through. If you can put that aside, a great listen...
What a shame an Australian voice actor wasn't chosen for this Australian novel. The weird South African/Kiwi/Irish/English accent that was used for the Australian characters was highly distracting and barely understandable at times. I could not get past the first few chapters and I feel vaguely culturally insulted that the author was treated in this way. I look forward to hearing another, more appropriately voiced, version sometime in the future.
I'm greatly enjoying listening to books, a great experience. not replacing reading but adding a new dimension to book consumption.
Really enjoyed this story. The interwoven story lines were beautifully done. The dedication to art and artists was inspiring. As for the read, overall I liked it, with a big BUT - that had to be the worst Australian accent impression I've heard and it was very off putting. It would have been better to not go there at all - it confused me, I thought we'd gone to South Africa for some reason or cockney England.
I enjoyed this book immensely. However, I was really annoyed by the English/Irish/South African attempt at an Australian accent. Given that one of the two main characters was an Aussie, as well as others, the narrator should have alternated with someone who could manage it better (or at all...he rarely, if ever, hit an Aussie note). Or at the very least, have a dialogue coach. Really disappointing.
The story, however, I enjoyed. Enough said.
Whilst i enjoyed the story, the terrible Australian accent was nearly a deal breaker for me. It was a mixture of New Zealander & cockney, with a touch of Irish. Please, if you are going to read in a different accent, get some coaching.
While I am really enjoying the change from crime and romance novels for a bit, and the inclusion of Australia in some of the action and reminiscence, I am so irritated by the appalling Australian accent of the narrator that I am writing this review only half way through the book. Honestly, except for a handful of the best actors, most make a mess of our accent. I can say this narrator does THE worst job of it I have ever heard and it is really detracting from my attention to and enjoyment of the story. (His Dutch accent is terrible too by the way.)
When will you production companies learn? Use Australian narrators when there is more than a passing need for an Australian accent! I just don't see how you made any other choice given a major character in this book is Australian, not to mention many minor characters. Our actors/narrators can do American and standard English accents easily and do just as good a job on the other aspects of reading audio books as anyone else.
Yes, good story line. Comfortable but sufficiently complex plot.
relating the painting to the real life events that inspired the painting
As all other reviewers have said, the Aussie accent was pretty bad. I'm a New Zealander. We too are a nation of 'readers'.
Yes, put life's little problems into perspective.
I'd definitely read more from this author.
A very different yet beautiful story with many parallels between characters and different time periods.
Although the narrator does a terrible Australian accent, his soothing voice transcends you into a different time and adds to the beauty of this story line.
"Distracting appauling "Australian" accent."
I am so annoyed with the extremely poor "Australian Accent" that Eduardo Ballerini puts on that I have stopped listening in order to put in my first review. I wish he had not done any accents and had just read it with his American one. This is distracting enough for a non-American as it is, but to have an incompetent accent foisted on one while listening is extremely annoying. He seems to think Australians and South Africans/ New Zealanders have a similar accent. I am South African so I know that accent , and I live in AU so I know that one! Please do not let him do any accents again. in fact, it would be nice to have all books read by an English speaking person, rather than an American speaking person.
His total inability to do Australian accents. He did a horrid and bad concoction of South African and New Zealand instead. OH DEAR!!! Give us no accents if not properly done!and give us English actors please.
This book was recommended to us and, having now listened to it, I can see why it is getting so much attention. The contrast between the artists and the monied patrons of the arts, and the sometimes shonky art industry certainly provides a compelling story. The reader is a favourite of mine so I managed to ignore his weird interpretation of an Australian accent.
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