cover image My Friend the Painter

My Friend the Painter

Lygia Bojunga Nunes. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P, $13.95 (85pp) ISBN 978-0-15-256340-0

Young Claudio and his best friend the Painter spend hours playing backgammon and talking about everything from art to love to politics. One day Claudio comes home to find that his friend has died. Soon the rumors fly that the Painter committed suicide, and Claudio's grief gets tangled up with his confusion. Written with remarkable, sustained intensity, this novel tells how Claudio slowly sorts though his intense feelings and comes to an uneasy peace with the fact of his friend's death. Nunes blends intriguing philosophical musings with riveting dream sequences and touching, realistic narrative passages. Especially compelling are the sections in which Nunes describes the emotional resonance different colors hold for Claudio and the Painter. Kudos to Nunes for her masterful work, and to Pontiero for rendering it so gracefully in English. Ages 8-12. (May)