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David Hockney: A Life

On sale

12th November 2020

Price: £9.99

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Selected: Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781911350804

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“Catherine Cusset’s book caught a lot of me. I recognised myself” DAVID HOCKNEY

“A perfect short exposé of Hockney’s life as seen through the eyes of an admiring novelist” Kirkus Reviews

“Hers is an affirming vision of a restless talent propelled by optimism and chance” New York Times

With clear, vivid prose, this meticulously researched novel draws an intimate, moving portrait of the most famous living English painter.

Born in Bradford in 1937, David Hockney had to fight to become an artist. After leaving home for the Royal College of Art in London his career flourished, but he continued to struggle with a sense of not belonging, because of his homosexuality, which had yet to be decriminalised, and because of his inclination for a figurative style of art, which was not sufficiently “contemporary” to be valued.

Trips to New York and California – where he would live for many years and paint his iconic swimming pools – introduced him to new scenes and new loves, beginning a journey that would take him through the fraught years of the AIDS epidemic.

A compelling hybrid of novel and biography, David Hockney: A Life offers an insightful overview of a painter whose art is as accessible as it is compelling, and whose passion to create has never been deterred by heartbreak or illness or loss.

Translated from the French by Teresa Lavender Fagan


Kirkus Reviews
Cusset's style oozes with delicacy, pointedness, and gusto. A perfect short exposé of Hockney's life as seen through the eyes of an admiring novelist.
Richard Cytowic, New York Journal
This book is a gem. A hybrid of biography and novelistic chiaroscuro in which Catherine Cusset, a widely translated French novelist, tells us "I have imagined feelings, thoughts, and dialogue
Ayten Tytici, New York Times
Life of David Hockney feels almost as sunny as the poolside California that was the artist's longtime muse. Cusset never lets her intellectual digressions slow the tempo of her staccato prose. Hers is an affirming vision of a restless talent propelled by optimism and chance
Like Mr Hockney, Cusset mixes lush visuals with pervasive melancholy, and as her subject reaches belated maturity, her prose grows increasingly nuanced. By the book's end, the great painter feels fragile and accessible, both a legend and a fallible man
Brad Auerback, Entertainment Today
What a breezy delight this book is!