Since the sudden death of his father, Toni Powlett has been unable to draw or to paint. His father was the inspiration for his art – the mentor who had taught him to love art for art’s sake.
Now, four years later, Toni finds inspiration again, through an unexpected source. Marina Golding, the wife of his former art teacher, makes contact when she and her husband return to Melbourne after a lengthy absence. Marina becomes the inspiration for a new set of drawings and paintings – The Marina Suite. Full of the passion for art, Toni loses track of other parts of his life. He forgets to collect his daughter from kinder, and his relationship with his wife becomes increasingly strained as he spends more and more time with Marina.
This is a story about an artist, but it also, importantly, an exploration of the struggle to balance art with life, of creative urges with domestic necessities. Powlett – who, in the course of the story resumes his parents’ real surname, Prochownik – is a talented artist who struggles to achieve this balance. At the story’s beginning he is a devoted father and husband, but as the story progresses he risks his marriage and his relationship with his young daughter as he rediscovers his artistic flair.
This is an absorbing read, with a depth which causes the reader to ponder its subtleties long after the story is finished.
Prochownik’s Dream, by Alex Miller
Allen & Unwin, 2005