RecordDetails
New York : Vintage Books, a Division of Penguin Random House LLC, 2017.
290 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm

An international best seller: a vivid, masterly novel about a Flemish man who reconstructs his grandfather's story--his hopes, loves, and art, all disrupted by the First World War--from the unflinching notebooks he filled with pieces of his life. The life of Urbain Martien--artist, soldier, survivor of World War I--lies contained in two notebooks he left behind when he died in 1981. His grandson, a writer, retells his story, the notebooks giving him the impetus to imagine his way into the locked chambers of Urbain's memory. He vividly recounts a whole life: Urbain as the child of a lowly church painter, retouching his father's work; dodging death in a foundry; fighting in the war that altered the course of history; marrying the sister of the woman he truly loved; haunted by an ever-present reminder of the artist he had hoped to be and the soldier he was forced to become. Wrestling with this story, Urbain's grandson straddles past and present, searching for a way to understand his own part in both. As artfully rendered as a Renaissance fresco, War and Turpentine paints an extraordinary portrait of one man's life and reveals how that life echoed down through the generations. With black-and-white illustrations throughout.