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Book Review: Tiepolo Blue by James Cahill

Title: Tiepolo Blue

Author: James Cahill

Publisher: Sceptre

Length: 341 pages

Synopsis: Cambridge, 1994. Professor Don Lamb is a revered art historian at the height of his powers, consumed by the book he is writing about the skies of the Venetian master Tiepolo. However, his academic brilliance belies a deep inexperience of life and love. When an explosive piece of contemporary art is installed on the lawn of his college, it sets in motion Don’s abrupt departure from Cambridge to take up a role at a south London museum. There he befriends Ben, a young artist who draws him into the anarchic 1990s British art scene and the nightlife of Soho. Over the course of one long, hot summer, Don glimpses a liberating new existence. But his epiphany is also a moment of self-reckoning, as his oldest friendship- and his own unexamined past – are revealed to him in a devastating new light. As Don’s life unravels, he suffers a fall from grace that shatters his world to pieces.

I loved this novel glimpses into Don’s (the main character) queer life, the restrictive love, and the sexual awakening. These sections of the book feel free and like Don is showing a part of himself he’s always wanted to let go and it’s so enchanting to read. You feel like you really get to know him, but you can also feel the control starting to be lost and James portrays it’s so brilliantly. 

It’s so beautifully written. The writing just flowed until the end and then it became tight and tense and I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep until I finished the last page. James Cahill really builds momentum throughout the novel, whilst never losing the beauty or the discussion about art (which feels like a main character in itself), and it’s thrilling to read. 

As soon as I started this book I knew I was going to hooked until the last page. It’s utterly gripping. I loved how this book and the character become a slow dissent to the upheaval of his life. It’s so hard not to talk about without revealing the plot but you feels as the reader that you’re on a train you can’t get off and it’s mesmerising.

Tiepolo Blue is the kind of book that lingers in the mind and heart. The more I think of it, the more I love it.

When you finish you can’t help but feel you’ve read a future classic and I know for sure I’ll be reading this time and time again.

Thanks so much to Ollie at Sceptre for gifting me with a copy of the book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out now

Until the next review


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