Tom Rachman wrote The Imperfectionists which I thought was wonderful, and I feel the same way about his newest work. The title refers to the main character, Charles Bavinsky, affectionately known as Pinch. Born in Rome to a Canadian mother who is a frustrated potter and a seldom seen, but adored, father who is a world famous painter, Pinch spends his childhood and much of his adult life seeking his father’s love and approval, something the reader knows he will never obtain. Poor Pinch achieves little success both in personal relationships and in his professional life. However, after his father dies, having fathered as many children as he has produced paintings, Pinch makes some bold moves which bring him a feeling of self-worth and a small degree of fame.
The Italian Teacher is fun, interesting, complex and yet not at all difficult to read. Rachman poses some unanswered questions about art, family and fame.