Read All the Days and Nights by Niven Govinden Online


From the author of ‘Black Bread White Beer’The East Coast of America, 1980.Anna Brown, a dying artist, works on her final portrait. Obsessive and secretive, it is a righting of her past failures; her final statement.John Brown, her husband and life-long muse, has left; walked out of their home one morning to travel cross-country in search of the paintings he has sat for.AsFrom the author of ‘Black Bread White Beer’The East Coast of America, 1980.Anna Brown, a dying artist, works on her final portrait. Obsessive and secretive, it is a righting of her past failures; her final statement.John Brown, her husband and life-long muse, has left; walked out of their home one morning to travel cross-country in search of the paintings he has sat for.As their stories unfold – independently, for the first time in many years – a passionate unconventional relationship is revealed, between two people living through the most tumultuous decades of modern history.All the Days and Nights is the story of an art hunt during a twilight period of painting. It lays bare two relationships that are ever changing and incomparable: of the artist and the muse, and of lovers. It is an exploration of what it means to create, what it means to inspire, what it means to live....

Title : All the Days and Nights
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780007580491
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 176 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

All the Days and Nights Reviews

  • Neil
    2019-01-18 15:21

    Hmmm ... I think there is often a fine line between beautiful writing and pretentious writing. And I know that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" so I appreciate that opinions will differ. For me, this was pretentious and I didn't really enjoy it. What really put me off was that it is written in the second person present tense - I don't know why, but that really didn't work for me. Not a lot happens in this book, really and it seems to hinge on a traumatic event that isn't mentioned until towards the end: I think it is more about the writing than it is about the story - if you like the writing style, you will love the book - if, like me, you don't, you won't. Simple!

  • Lilee See
    2018-12-27 15:18

    All the Days and Nights is about Anna, a dying artist, who is determined to complete her final portrait. Obsessive and secretive, she it detached from the world around her, and longs to feel that her life-long work has been worthwhile.And as the novel opens up, we learn that Anna's husband, John - who is also her life-long muse - has fled from their home, determined in himself, to track down the painting he has sat for. And too, discover if his work, has been of any worth.And the first thing I'll say about All the Days And Nights is: what a gem of a book this turned out to be!From the first page I was drawn in and absorbed, which was mostly because of the unique and beautiful writing style Govinden brings to this novel.Anna, throughout the narrative, is addressing John directly, which in turn, makes it feel as though she's addressing straight to us, as the reader. It gave me a real sense of involvement in the story from the start. We do also hear what John is doing throughout the novel, but it's through Anna's voice we delve there. And in many ways, I feel as though this entire narrative is an embodiment of Anna herself. It's a melancholy, dry, uncompromising story, exactly how she is. True, as well, with the writing: it's artistic and visual.Also what I appreciated, was that the story didn't give up its secrets. It lets us as the reader do the work, join the dots, decipher and interpret the text. It made me alert while I was reading. I didn't want to miss anything. And at times, it did become quite hard to keep up with what was happening and who was saying what, but ultimately I liked it didn't make things easy. It didn't allow me to become complacent.As for the plot, it was a simple one. It was consistent and one-toned, and I by know means say that at a criticism. Again, it embodies Anna, and adds to the melancholy, reminiscent atmosphere. This definitely isn't a book that's going to have you on the edge of your seat, dying to know what's going to happen, but it is in no way attempting to do that. For with the beautiful writing and subtle atmospheric mystery, it really didn't need a raging packed plot. It was constructed well and did exactly what it wanted to do.So in conclusion, I thought this book was fantastic. It had mystery and intrigue and a melancholy story to tell. Therefore, if you're looking for a character driven tale, with beautifully artistic writing, I would definitely check out All the Days And Nights.

  • Nasim
    2019-01-14 16:11

    It took me a while to read this short novel, I read slowly, in general, and I wanted to properly absorb it. I also re-read certain passages just to anchor myself, as the narrative loops and nests into itself, there are layers of memory being explored and you don’t always know quite where you are until you re-read, but the writing is so beautiful, it is a joy to read the sentences over again. There is also a lot of detail, but not in a cluttered, over-descriptive way, and the writer has achieved something special with tone and point of view. It’s written in second person: a dying American artist, Anna Brown, is addressing her (much) younger husband, John, who has gone off without explanation (I'm not sure if/when they ever formally marry, though they wear rings to appear married). It is through Anna, who is dying, that John comes alive, and in her narrative/mind John has gone off on a journey to seek out all the paintings she has ever done of him (she has painted him every day they have been together). The clarity and purity of the language is hypnotic, and there are images that stay with me. In one scene, John stands with a dead dog he’s found, its ‘mottled paws’ sticking out of a hedge. He is too upset to sit down and just stands there, holding the dog while Anna is asking him to sit: ‘The dog’s crown and eyes were wet with blood, caked to his fur like a thick creme shampoo that was yet to be washed away’. The novel is full of images like this, which simply arrest you. The American narrative voice is also impressive, pitch perfect (though there’s a tiny false note, when British ‘jumper’ is used instead of sweater). I also loved the character of Vishni the housekeeper, she is more or less silent in the background, but we know she is important. And she has posed for Anna too. I found myself wanting to know her point of view. Without hesitation, I give All the Days and Nights 5 stars. I read the Kindle version, but this is one I'd like to re-read on paper.

  • PC
    2019-01-10 10:26

    Lofty.. artistic.. the narrative of this book is determined to be just as eloquent, indulgent and make you suffer as much as the pursuit of the perfect painting. Not to say that I did not enjoy it for the most part, although there were no intricate plot twists nor scattered characters with differing agendas. Well worth the read if only to experience the kaleidoscopic word-massage that dances through the brain as one visually consumes the eloquent pen of Govinden. Unusual, I liked it. But then... I paint!Thank you to Goodreads for making this experience possible.

  • Gloria
    2019-01-08 15:19

    Claustrophobic little book --more novella than novel-- about the artistic life, "Art," impending death, and the symbiotic relationship between an artist and her muse(s). The writing veers into the precious (including the use of second-person narration), but it is evocative and does linger. Literary fiction at its most literary, for good or ill.

  • JacquiWine
    2019-01-17 10:25

    In the opening pages of All the Days and Nights, the latest novel by British writer Niven Govinden, we hear from Anna Brown, a renowned artist living on the East Coast of America. The year is 1980 and Anna realises that John, her partner and muse for the last fifty years, has left their home (as he has previously threatened to do). It soon becomes clear that John has embarked on a quest to view Anna’s portraits of him, pictures which now hang in museums and private collections across America.Govinden adopts a very interesting approach in conveying Anna and John’s story by moving between passages written as first- and second-person narratives. The use of the second-person narrative – in which Anna addresses John through the use of ‘you’ – gives a feeling of closeness and immediacy, almost as if she is speaking directly to the reader. As she relays John’s journey across the US, everything we see and hear feels as if it is being refracted through Anna’s lens. It’s as if Anna is imagining what is happening to John, seeing these events in her mind’s eye.As the novel progresses, we also hear Anna’s perspective on her life with John: how he arrived on spec in search of manual work and ended up staying for fifty years; how comfortable and open he is with everyone in the local community, while Anna prefers isolation as she needs her own space in which to breathe.One of the key themes of this novel centres on the search for meaning. Anna is dying, and being a stubborn individual she is struggling to face up to her own mortality. John’s quest to view Anna’s paintings is driven by the need to define his relationship with this woman, and by viewing these images he hopes to understand the essence of his life with Anna. What exactly did Anna capture in these portraits and will John recognise himself? What emotions and facets of their relationship has she drawn upon, exploited even, in the name of art? Does John’s life contain any meaning at all beyond that of his role as a subject for Anna’s paintings?All the Days and Nights also offers an exploration of the creative process and the relationship between artist and muse. We see Anna’s determination and dedication to her craft, the intense physical and mental demands she makes of her subjects as they strive to maintain a position for several hours.To read the rest of my review, please click here:

  • Tanya Marlow
    2019-01-15 10:24

    This is one that will stay with me, not so much for the plot or characters, but for the sheer quality of the writing. Why it hasn’t been nominated for a Booker Prize or similar is beyond me.The two main characters are a world-class artist, and her muse, who happens to be her husband, who has spent his life being her model, sitting for hours in stillness while she paints. The story opens out with the fact that he has left the house, without saying goodbye, yet the artist intuitively knows that he will not return.The narrative voice is arresting and unusual, and I would compare it to somewhere between Virginia Woolf, Julian Barnes’ The Sense of an Ending, and John Williams’ Stoner. I found the ending a bit mysterious, but other than that, it is the kind of book that you read when you want some real literature, when you want to immerse yourself in beauty. It is a fascinating exploration of the life of the artist and the relationship to one’s muse, and as a backdrop, the changing landscape of America in the 1930s, Hypnotic, exquisitely, memorably written – one to indulge in when you crave writing as a work of art.

  • Amanda
    2019-01-01 11:23

    I am sure that this is a very beautiful and meaningful book (so the review quote pulls on the back cover tell me), and I do agree that there are certain sentences peppered throughout these 169 pages that stopped the text and spun me. And I did really enjoy the moment I realized that even in this book that is supposed to tell both of their stories we never hear John's voice; Anne is still painting the sole portrait. But honestly, I just was never really interested in the story. I have no problem reading literary fiction, but in this case the "beautiful" prose kept me out of the story. I felt like my eyes kept skittering over the pages, never quite penetrating the gallery glass. *In compliance with FTC guidelines, I disclose that I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.*

  • Gretel
    2019-01-09 12:22

    I found this to be a far from enjoyable read. The prose is so overwritten and definitely comes across to me as trying too hard, as if to scream 'look, I'm literary fiction!' Not a lot happens in this books but it doesn't stop Govinden from using so many words when few would suffice. Because of the pretentious writing, the story really suffers. Sorry, it just wasn't for me.

  • Jennifer
    2018-12-30 15:23

    I received a copy of this book from the publisher through the First-reads program.I tried. I really did. But I can't finish this book. I should have been able to read this in a day. But it took me weeks to get to page 50. I will continue to try, but at this point it's a DNF from me. Others may very well like it.

  • Elizabeth Grieve
    2019-01-22 10:26

    I'm afraid this was not for me. I didn't like the use of first and second person for the narrative, and found it a bit too 'literary' and self-conscious, if that makes any sense.A preview copy was provided by the publisher in exhange for a review.

  • Melissa B
    2018-12-24 14:16

    I received this book through GoodReads First Reads.I began this book thinking it was beautifully written, but had a difficult time finishing.The style of writing, along with the verbosity of the book, made it difficult to follow, and the plethora of words just overran the story-line.

  • Madeline Toy
    2018-12-23 10:03

    Beautifully written.

  • Penny
    2019-01-09 11:06

    Found this a very difficult book to get into, sadly, as I am sure it is a poetic and elegant novel, not my cup of tea though.

  • Kim
    2018-12-31 11:18

    won this book in the first reads giveaway. a short interesting read. never read anything like it before!

  • Brenda Schneider
    2018-12-31 16:02

    Interesting. Well written. I received this book through Good Reads.

  • nikkia neil
    2019-01-17 13:06

    Even though this is a short story, it felt long because of the writing style. Very cool book. Makes you think about how artists suffer for their life work.