A Curious Earth: A Novel
Title: A Curious Earth: A Novel
Author: Gerard Woodward
Mesmerized by Rembrandt’s portrait of his housekeeper-turned-mistress, grieving widower Aldous Jones experiences a renewed desire for life that prompts a journey to Belgium, where he reconnects with his bohemian son and forges new relationships during evening language classes.
In this successor to his Man Booker Prize finalist, Gerard Woodward slyly pits defiant Aldous Jones against the hazards of aging.
Left with an empty house after the death of his wife, Aldous Jones is tempted to spend the whole day sitting in his chair in the kitchen. But with admirable determination he resumes old pastimes until, one day, wandering London, he is surprised to find a painting that holds him completely in its spell. Rembrandt’s portrait of his housekeeper-turned-mistress, Hendrijcke Stoffels, awakens Jones’s desire for a new life, a new woman, sex, and companionship. It leads him to Belgium to stay with his bohemian son, to evening language classes, and through a series of slightly misguided relationships until eventually he meets his Hendrijcke. As The Guardian writes, this work is “brave, funny, and beautifully written, as perceptive about Rembrandt and Shakespeare as it is about evening classes, potato tubers sprouting in neglected cupboards and the accumulated detritus of family life.”