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Enquist's impassioned novel revolves around the artist Johan Steenkamer, the women who are drawn to him, and his troubled family relationships: an absent father, a manipulative mother and an emotionally crippled brother. The three days leading up to the opening of his grand exhibition are depicted with a dramatic sense of light and shade; Enquist describes making jam and making love with equally vivid intensity. Present events are shadowed by the past, and the section describing the loss of Steenkamer's daughter is an exploration of grief that will leave no reader unmoved. There are undertones of "Don Giovanni in the portrayal of the central character and in moments of the narrative; timeless dilemmas are counterpointed with those familiar to all contemporary working women. This beautifully observed and affecting novel introduces to English-speaking audiences the work of one of Europe's finest writers. "The Masterpiece has been translated by Jeannette K. Ringold, it was originally published in 1994 as "Het Meesterstuk.
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