When his wife is killed in a road accident in America, Jeff Geiger decides to return home to England with his six-year-old son, Buddy. He becomes the neighbour of a renowned artist, Ewan McLean, a divorcee with a son, Olin, of the same age. The ...
two men become close friends, and over the years share holidays and outings together with their sons and Ewan's ex-wife Liv, when she visits from Copenhagen. On a trip to Spain, Jeff, Ewan, and the boys discover the 'smallest museum in the world,' a collection of oddities comprising of dressed fleas, paintings on pins, and a shrunken head. Some weeks after they return home, Ewan begins to behave strangely, becoming reclusive and withdrawn. He ceases to produce the large-scale abstracts he is famous for, and instead, locks himself in his studio working for hours in isolation. Within a year of visiting the museum in Mijas, Ewan dies in a bizarre accident, falling from a bridge and drowning in a river near his home. The book opens a year later when Jeff visits the Contemporary Arts Centre in Dundee to discuss the opening of a retrospective of Ewan's work. He discovers that Nick Cox, a friend of Ewan's from his university days that is organising the show, has received a package from Ewan's solicitor containing a pin. When magnified, the pin reveals a painting by Ewan copied from a photograph. The picture is of Ewan standing on the bridge where he died, surrounded by a gathering of close friends. When Jeff and Buddy travel to Captiva Island in Florida to visit two of these friends, they discover more miniatures, the trail eventually leading Jeff back to Mijas. Further revelations alter the picture that Jeff had constructed of his friends' lives and his own, and Jeff becomes aware that Ewan had somehow unleashed a train of events that had been beyond his control. The small and obscured details that Ewan discovers, the secrets from his family's past, leave him vulnerable, and present Jeff with irrevocable change, forcing him to confront his own buried emotions.
Number of pages: 140
Date of publication: 01/03/2009
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