beyond measure


Beyond measureThe artistic world of mid-16th Century Italy comes to life through the eyes of a piebald slave stolen from her home and family in Africa.
Chiara, as she is eventually named, is sold to Paolo Pallavicino, an artist in service of Giuliano de Medici. When several unfortunate incidents occur, the artist’s wife believes her to be a curse and demands that she be sent away. From this starting point, Chiara works her way from painter to painter, observing the games the artists play on each other and the rivalries that fuel their artistic creations.

I am not beautiful, this much I know. You have to understand about my face. I am not fair. To find myself here with his eyes upon me, who am not beautiful. All my life an ugly creature as low as the spotted cow in the barn, the brindled bitch beneath the table. It is important not to look at his face while he is looking at me. Look at the cat outside the window. Forget that he is looking. If I do not forget, I shall die for shame.

Published in Canada by Cormorant Books.
Published in the US and Australia as A Rare and Curious Gift (W.W. Norton & CO.)

“Holdstock, with a few deft strokes, pulls the reader into the tumultuous life of an alluring rabble of characters: painters, sculptors, patrons, fools, and slaves . . . In Beyond Measure, she proves herself a master of pacing. Her lively, macabre plot trips lightly along in spite of its dark elements.”
The Globe and Mail

“This well-executed novel can sit comfortably on any bookshelf alongside work by writers like A.S. Byatt and Jane Urquhart.”
The Vancouver Sun

“In Beyond Measure, Holdstock has created a fascinating portrayal of a society obsessed with surfaces, which sees the creation of beauty as ample justification for torture, mutilation, and murder.”
Books in Canada

Published in Canada by Cormorant Books.
Published in the US and Australia as A Rare and Curious Gift (W.W. Norton & CO.)


• Paperback: 300 pages
• Publisher: Cormorant Books 2004
• Language: English
• ISBN-10: 189695149X
• ISBN-13: 978-1896951492