Headlong by Michael Frayn was shortlisted for the Booker prize in 1999.
Headlong is the story an art historian who spots a lost painting by Breugal in his neighbour’s house. He sets out to obtain the painting by any means possible, in order to bring himself fame and fortune.
As I know next to nothing about art, I was worried that I would find this book difficult to read, but the technical terms are explained simply and the descriptions of the paintings are so wonderful that I almost felt I knew what they looked like.
The plot is fairly fast paced, and I love the many moral dilemmas concerning the value of love, friendship, trust and wealth. I got slightly bored by the sections on the history of Breugal, but the rest of the book made up for these, and I loved the ending.
As so much of the plots hinges on parts of Breugal’s paintings I feel that it would have been beneficial to have some pictures of the paintings in the book. I ended up looking for them on the internet, and as a result of seeing the pictures I felt I had a much better understanding of what was going on.
It’s a great book, with well researched content and realistic characters. I recommend it, as long as you can put up with the history!