The Painting Reviews

 

 

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"The painting of a Newfoundland lighthouse that Annie finds in her attic becomes a portal to the place itself and the lonely girl who lives there. Claire, 12, white, a serious student and avid reader, lives with her mother, Maisie, a fiercely self-sufficient painter, in an old lighthouse on the coast of Newfoundland. Claire longs to move back to their home in St. John's, where her younger sister died. Annie, also 12, white, and a gifted artist, lives in Toronto with her accomplished parents.

The night her mother is injured in a car accident Annie finds herself falling into the real world of the lighthouse, where Claire immediately recognizes her as an older version of her sister, Annie. Claire blames herself for young Annie's death and believes that her mother does, too. Alternating subchapters in Claire's and Annie's voices weave a cleverly constructed, compellingly paced mystery that's part time-slip story, part ghost story, part meditation on the power of dreaming.

Epigraphs drawn from Through the Looking Glass and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland about the nature of dreams and reality preface each of the nine chapters. As Annie begins to realize who she and Claire might be to each other, Claire and Maisie clash over a series of portraits imagining the young Annie growing older.

Full of emotional truth and connection. "—Kirkus