When Hisham Matar was nineteen years old he came across the Sienese school of painting for the first time. In the year in which his life was shattered by the disappearance of his father the work of the great artists of Siena offered him a sense of hope.
Over the years, Matar’s feelings towards these paintings would deepen and, as he says, ‘Siena began to occupy the sort of uneasy reverence the devout might feel towards Mecca or Rome or Jerusalem’. A Month in Siena is the encounter, twenty-five years later, between the writer and the city he had worshipped from afar.
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