Maria Gainza, Thomas Bunstead
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‘A highly original, piercingly beautiful work, full of beautiful shocks… I felt like a door had been kicked open in my brain’ Johanna Thomas-Corr, Observer
A woman searches Buenos Aires for the paintings that are her inspiration and her refuge. Her life — she is a young mother with a complicated family — is sometimes overwhelming. But among the canvases, often little-known works in quiet rooms, she finds clarity and a sense of who she is . . .
‘I was reminded of John Berger’s Ways of Seeing, enfolded in tender and exuberant personal narratives’
‘This woman-guide, who goes from Lampedusa to The Doors with crushing elegance, is unforgettable’ Mariana Enriquez
‘A dazzling combination of memoir, fiction and art book, like nothing you’ve ever read before’ Elle
When reading The Optic Nerve, works of art are like songs: they carry the excitement and mystery you feel when you stumble upon them. This is the stunning, lucid debut of a writer who finds gold in the most forgotten folds of experience. -- Alan Pauls Quietly revelatory, and often fascinatingly so -- David Mills * Sunday Times * A highly original, piercingly beautiful work, a book you'll want to savour... Gainza is a writer who feels immediately important -- Johanna Thomas-Corr * Observer * The prose, in Thomas Bunstead's translation, is restrained, funny, by turns (and at once) luminous and melancholy... We are left with a profound inquiry into the place and function of art... as remembrance, as joy and consolation, as meaning, as refuge -- Amy Sackville * Guardian * I was reminded of Berger's Ways of Seeing, enfolded in tender and exuberant personal narratives - it's so sophisticated and fascinating, yet has a Calvinoesque light touch; all the textures and nuances come through without labour. Rigorous and mercurial. -- Claire-Louise Bennett
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