After finishing his powerful memoir The Return, Hisham Matar, seeking solace and pleasure, traveled to Siena, Italy. Always finding comfort and clarity in great art, Matar immersed himself in eight significant works from the Sienese School of painting, which flourished from the thirteenth to the fifteenth centuries. Artists whom he had admired throughout his life, such as Duccio and Ambrogio Lorenzetti, evoke earlier engagements he has had with works by Caravaggio and Poussin, and the personal experiences that surrounded those moments.
Complete with gorgeous full-color reproductions of the artworks, A Month in Siena is about what occurred between Matar, those paintings, and the city. That month would be an extraordinary period in Matar’s life: an exploration of how art can console and disturb in equal measure, as well as an intimate encounter with the city and its inhabitants. This is a gorgeous meditation on how centuries-old art can illuminate our own inner landscape—current relationships, long-lasting love, grief, intimacy, and solitude—and shed further light on the present world around us.
Hisham Matar is the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of the memoir The Return, which also received the PEN/Jean Stein Award, the Prix du Livre Étranger Inter—Le Journal du Dimanche (France), Geschwister-Scholl-Preis (Germany), the Rathbones Folio Prize, and the Slightly Foxed Best First Biography Prize, and was selected as one of The New York Times’ top 10 books of the year. His debut novel, In the Country of Men, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and The Guardian First Book Award, and won numerous international prizes, including the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize and a Commonwealth First Book Award. His second novel, Anatomy of a Disappearance, was published to great acclaim in 2011 and was named one of the best books of the year by several publications, including the Chicago Tribune, The Daily Beast, The Independent, and The Guardian. Matar’s work has been translated into thirty languages and he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Born in New York City to Libyan parents, he spent his childhood in Tripoli and Cairo and has lived most of his adult life in London. He now divides his time between London and New York.
Peter Carey is the author of thirteen previous novels and is a two-time winner of the Booker Prize. His other honors include the Commonwealth Writers' Prize and the Miles Franklin Literary Award. Born in Australia, he has lived in New York City for more than twenty-five years.