A great painter lies on his deathbed, synapses firing, writhing and reveling in pleasure and pain as a lifetime of chaotic and grotesque sense memories wash over and envelop him.
In this bold and brilliant short work of experimental fiction by the author of Grief Is the Thing with Feathers and Lanny, Max Porter inhabits Francis Bacon in his final moments, translating into seven extraordinary written pictures the explosive final workings of the artist's mind. Writing as painting rather than about painting, Porter lets the images he conjures speak for themselves as they take their revenge on the subject who wielded them in life.
The result is more than a biography: The Death of Francis Bacon is a physical, emotional, historical, sexual, and political bombardment--the measure of a man creative and compromised, erotic and masochistic, inexplicable and inspired.
About the Author
Max Porter is the author of Lanny, longlisted for the Booker Prize, and Grief Is the Thing with Feathers, winner of the International Dylan Thomas Prize and shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and the Goldsmiths Prize. He is the recipient of the Sunday Times/Peter, Fraser + Dunlop Young Writer of the Year award.
“Porter blends verse and prose to create books that aren’t quite poems, but aren’t quite novels in the traditional sense, either.[…]Amid the book’s gloom, Porter [finds] some room for levity in the darkness, breaking up the mood with playful turns of phrase[…]” ―New York Times
“The words [Max Porter writes] are absolutely beautiful to say. Like all good writing, the more you say them, the more they reveal.”—Cillian Murphy
"Porter is one of our most exciting writers. He dares to experiment and that means both the flare of mercury and the burnt crucible. Some sections enthral, others alienate. Like its subject, The Death of Francis Bacon is tricky, wicked and wonderfully weird." ― Spectator
"A feat of empathy, imagination and literary brio. Expansive and succinct, wild and controlled." ― Irish Independent
"A luminous novelette ... that seeks to elide the boundary between literature and visual art." ― Observer
"Porter's third book is very much a living thing, a thing that requires more than one reading ... He is the supreme word alchemist." ― Sunday Independent, Ireland
"A miniature masterpiece." ― Daily Mail
"A very moving depiction of a mind in dissolution at the very edge of death ... a powerful stiletto of a book." ― Scotland on Sunday
"A little masterpiece[...]painting in words the "deeply ordered chaos" Bacon saw all about him." ― Irish Times
"One of our most lyrical novelists brings his rich facility for language and psychological insight to the final hours of the great painter Francis Bacon, in this majestic tour de force." ― Waterstones, Best Fiction Books to Look Forward to in 2021