The Forgery – Ave Barrera

In twentieth-century Mexico, a desperate painter is hired to produce a copy of a sixteenth-century panel portrait. Invited to stay at the house of his employer, his task moves from absurd farce to dangerous trial to fever dream. Guarded by two strange siblings and haunted by his employer’s wan mother, long-disappeared father and eccentric architect, the narrator is torn between escape, submission and artistic dedication.

First published in 2013 in Mexico and newly translated into English, Ave Barrera’s novel is a wild Borgesian voyage through the figuratively and legally shadowy side of modern Mexico that reflects on the nature of art and identity.