On Chapel Sands: My Mother and Other Missing Persons

Laura Cumming forensically analyses a child’s abduction and a life’s hidden hollows

Laura Cumming: As an art critic, she can read an image persuasively, and this book works as a primer on how pictures and paintings inform our existence.

Laura Cumming: As an art critic, she can read an image persuasively, and this book works as a primer on how pictures and paintings inform our existence.

Laura Cumming’s latest book was a surprise hit last year, making two prize shortlists and numerous best-of-year recommendations. Now that it arrives in paperback, does it live up to expectations?

A word of context first. Cumming is the art critic for the UK’s Observer newspaper, and an excellent one at that. Her last book, The Vanishing Man, had me helplessly gripped within a handful of pages on a subject I had no idea I was interested in: the life and work of the painter Velázquez.

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