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Michael Frayn, Headlong


Current Status:
In Season
Michael Frayn

We gave it an A-

Every man has his price: the point at which he will abandon morality and responsibility and sell his soul for something he simply has to have. That’s exactly what happens in Headlong, an entertaining yarn by novelist/playwright Frayn (”Noises Off”) about an art historian who repairs to the country with his wife and infant daughter for some quality work and family time, only to discover a painting that he believes to be a lost Brueghel in his neighbor’s house.

Determined to prove the origin of the work and get it away from his neighbor, the historian lies, borrows against his mortgage, and otherwise compromises himself. Like a gambling addict, he has to play out the game, no matter what the literal and emotional cost.

Though on the surface 15th-century Dutch paintings and blackjack may not seem to have much in common, by the end of this book you will have learned not only all you ever wanted about Brueghel but also a great deal about irrational obsession.