A proclaimed art critic writes a novel (A Painter of our Time) on a Hungarian (socialist) Painter that was read by another Painter: a trail that cannot get any better!! The novel was narrated as diary entries of the painter as he unravels the world of colors that he creates, locked away from all. His struggle as he transforms mere blobs of color on canvas into forms and shapes conveying a meaning, a story; adding life to them each day.
In a clash between the Chaos of Modern Art and Romance of Classicism, the protagonist clings to the latter and tries to depict order in the chaotic world today, belonging to the genre (as coined by the author) : “DESPERATE OPTIMISM”.
Politics continues to haunt art in the era of cold war and the protagonist Janos Lavin, after many deliberations with self, abandons art to escape to the political world, drawing a parallel with the author’s life who abandoned art to embrace writing as a more potent tool of changing the world and putting his ideas across. I can safely say author’s shift was successful as this book itself caused evoked strong political outrage enough to be banned for two decades before being republished again!!
“Life will always be bad enough, for the desire of something better not to be extinguished in men.“- Maxim Gorky