Portrait of an Unknown Lady


Author: Maria Gainza
ISBN: 9781787303249
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Harvill Secker

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SKU: 9781787303249 Category:


In this dazzling story of art and illusion, secrets and schemes, who is to be trusted – and what is real? From the internationally acclaimed author of Optic Nerve, a New York Times Notable Book 2019’A writer who feels immediately important’ ObserverAt a hotel in Buenos Aires, a woman checks in under a pseudonym. She wears a black fur shawl and has no luggage. She is alone.

Over the coming days and nights, she tells a story, which begins with a secret shared in a local bath house, revealing art forgery and fraud on a dazzling scale. At its heart is an enigmatic genius who for years forged portraits of the city’s elite, before disappearing without trace. It is a story of influence and intrigue, in which nothing is as it seems.

We’re not to expect ‘names, numbers or dates’, she cautions, but a more subtle kind of reckoning… Told in a mordant, irresistible voice and full of sharp surprises, Portrait of an Unknown Lady is a captivating enquiry into what we mean by ‘authenticity’, in life as in art. At once poised and capricious, elegant and bold, it is a thrilling exploration of the relationships between what is lived, what is told, what is remembered, and what is real.

Translated from the Spanish by Thomas Bunstead

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Maria Gainza




Harvill Secker