Skip to content
Agneta Pleijel

Double Portrait

March 1969. In only a matter of months the Americans will walk on the moon and the world will never be the same again. A young man enters the gallery Marlborough Fine Arts in London, which is hosting an exhibition with Oskar Kokoschka. The young man wants to know how much the Austrian painter will charge to paint a portrait of his grandmother.

His grandmother turns out to be the world famous mystery author Agatha Christie and the portrait will be a gift for her 80th birthday. The two ageing artists reluctantly agree to the project and during six sessions they forge an bond, reveal the fears and desires that shape a creative life. It becomes a conversation about death, love and art – in whichever order you choose.

Agneta

About the author

Pleijel

Agneta Pleijel is one of Sweden’s most cherished authors. Since her debut in 1970, she has been active both as a novelist, poet and playwright. Pleijel’s books have been translated into a number of languages and she has been awarded several prestigious literary prizes. Her latest books are the bestselling and critically acclaimed A Fortune Foretold and The…

Read more

About the book

Sold to

Czech Republic: Havran, Denmark: Batzer & Co, Estonia: Varrak, Germany: Urachhaus, Hungary: Polar, Netherlands: Oevers, Russia: Gorodets, Serbia: Blum, Turkey: Epsilon

March 1969. In only a matter of months the Americans will walk on the moon and the world will never be the same again. A young man enters the gallery Marlborough Fine Arts in London, which is hosting an exhibition with Oskar Kokoschka. The young man wants to know how much the Austrian painter will charge to paint a portrait of his grandmother.

His grandmother turns out to be the world famous mystery author Agatha Christie and the portrait will be a gift for her 80th birthday. The two ageing artists reluctantly agree to the project and during six sessions they forge an bond, reveal the fears and desires that shape a creative life. It becomes a conversation about death, love and art – in whichever order you choose.

Reviews

I haven’t encountered such vivid fictive characters for quite some time
Aftonbladet
To read Double Portrait is like sinking into a state where the borders between the unspoken and the explicit become blurred and where memories and associations come to life

To read Double Portrait is like sinking into a state where the borders between the unspoken and the explicit become blurred and where memories and associations come to life. Pleijel skilfully evokes the moments when both the reader and her characters are woken from the past and dragged back into the present, where the painting sessions create a near-sighted intimacy, in contrast to the conversations where the periods of time expand

Dagens Nyheter
Pleijel’s invented conversations between the artist and his muse appear so natural and authentic that occasionally I feel like a fly on the wall

In fictional works about famous people it is common that the author adds own psychological speculations when the research runs dry. But Pleijel’s invented conversations between the artist and his muse appear so natural and authentic that occasionally I feel like a fly on the wall. The novel is also set in a time when the world was transforming into another, with the protests of 1968 behind and the Americans landing on the moon. Pleijel’s elegant double portrait is from that perspective a mental time capsule about two dramatic shifts in history. But also a cosy, entertaining chamber play about two colourful characters who knew how to find their own way through history

Göteborgs-Posten
Pleijel creates her own exquisite choreography where dialogue, descriptions and the characters’ reflections are allowed to blend into one

Those hoping for a biography with thrilling revelations will be disappointed. Reality is rather a mere circumstance. The portraits of Christie and Kokoschka and their conversations had been fascinating to me as a reader even if the originals did not exist. It all comes down to the portrayal of course, and it is Pleijel’s ability to capture her reader without any grand gestures or effects that is so impressive /… / Pleijel creates her own exquisite choreography where dialogue, descriptions and the characters’ reflections are allowed to blend into one. Her prose shifts between distinctly monosyllabic and intractably embellished in its images. All you have to do is to follow. And enjoy.

Värmlands Folkblad

More titles by Agneta Pleijel

News All News

Read more her

" data-button_text="Ok" >